Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Netflix Gets “Gossip Girl” — And a Time Warner Deal

See? Netflix and Time Warner can play nicely after all.

The video rental company has a new licensing deal for shows from the teen-centric CW network, which is jointly owned by CBS and Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio.

This one has been in the works for quite some time, despite the fact that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes had made a point of belittling Netflix as “the Albanian Army” last year. But last spring, as the two companies continued to talk about distribution deals, Bewkes softened his rhetoric and explained that he would be quite happy to sell his reruns to the service.

Like other Netflix deals, this will be for reruns that are at least one season old — the company has stayed away from licensing “in-season” content. But if you want to watch last year’s “Gossip Girl” or “Vampire Diaries,” you’ll be able to stream those starting this Friday.

And like other recent Netflix deals, this is an “output” deal, which means Netflix gets the right to run shows that haven’t aired yet; the company has locked in everything the network will air through the 2014-2015 season. Netflix executives are increasingly pointing to this part of their content deals as a differentiator between their service and Amazon, which has been licensing much older shows for its streaming content deals.

The deal isn’t exclusive, though. Warner Bros. and CBS can still sell the shows via traditional distributors and other digital providers, with some restrictions.

Reminder: Netflix, which has lost about 60 percent of its market cap since this summer, reports Q3 earnings Oct. 24.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work