Netflix Wants to Pay $100k for New TV Episodes
The streaming video market is becoming quite a battleground, and it seems Netflix is ready to bring out the big guns.
The New York Post reports Netflix is prepared to offer up to $100,000 to stream a single episode of TV in mid-season. Currently, Netflix usually has to wait until the entire season of a TV show is released on DVD before it can stream episodes. Even Hulu, a burgeoning competitor of Netflix, often has to wait for days after a show has aired to stream it to users and can only keep a handful of episodes available at a time.
This is a huge sign of just how much importance entertainment providers are putting on having instant entertainment. Netflix isn't just offering $100,000 for a season of TV; the company is willing to pay that much per episode, which means Netflix expects big gains from having shows ready for customers shortly after they air.
Research firm Screen Digest reports that Netflix has only spent $350 million dollars on digital rights for 300 million streaming videos (not just TV), so paying per episode would significantly increase Netflix's budget.
Netflix's outsized offer is just the latest volley in the increasingly heated battle between streaming video companies. Apple and Google have both jumped into the fray with Apple TV and Google TV devices, while Hulu, Netflix and similar streaming companies. Even Microsoft is considering offering streaming TV episodes through the Xbox 360 . Netflix has openly acknowledged it wants to move away from mailing DVDs and has changed its pricing model accordingly. Hulu has dropped the price for Hulu Plus to stay competitive and expanded to game consoles like Netflix has.
Netflix scored another hit last month by securing rights to stream episodes of Saturday Night Live the day after it airs. With similar rights for hit shows from several networks, it could begin to rival Hulu's useful but limited catalog.
As you might expect, the biggest hurdle for Netflix's streaming ambitions isn't the money itself, but who to write the check to. Networks say they have the distribution rights to allow Netflix to stream mid-season, but production companies make the same claim and want to sell the rights to Netflix themselves. Until there is an agreement, Netflix might not be streaming any mid-season episodes.
That'll be a major setback for the company: Netflix can't fight a battle without ammunition.