updated 10:10 am EST, Wed December 8, 2010
Netflix gets fuller ABC and Disney streaming TV
Netflix landed another major content deal today as it reached a new deal with Disney and ABC. In exchange for a minimum 15-day delay between a first TV appearance and the online version, Netflix will get a much deeper catalog that includes prior-season access to current shows like Grey's Anatomy and full seasons of past shows like Lost and Scrubs. Disney's TV content is expanding, and ABC Family is reaching the Internet for the first time.
A handful of movies are also coming with the deal, but focus mostly on live action titles like the High School Musical series.
The agreement follows a deal last week to get first-run movies through the pay TV supplier FilmDistrict and gives Netflix a much stronger TV catalog, which has historically been one of its weak points. Netflix recently brought its $8 streaming-only plan to the US and is now more dependent than ever on the quality of its unlimited subscription videos to attract viewers.
Studios with deep attachments to traditional TV, most notably Time Warner, have worried that they have given Netflix too much power through licensing their content and have threatened retaliatory delays to artificially prop up dying per-title rentals and sales at stores like Blockbuster.
A Disney deal presents a unique relationship with Apple, whose CEO Steve Jobs is on Disney's board of directors and thus might have had some say over whether or not to approve Netflix's acquisition. Any agreement isn't likely to represent a direct conflict, however, since the new Apple TV supports Netflix as a central feature and would benefit from the Disney content.