Report: Netflix Offering Big Cash For Access To In-Season TV Shows

While Netflix has made a huge move in the last two years to expand its library of streaming movies and TV shows, the company has only been able to make a few deals that give users access to recently broadcast episodes. But a report in the New York Post claims Netflix is offering networks top-dollar for access to fresher content.

According to the Post, Netflix is offering to pay anywhere between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode for shows that are currently airing. Right now, aside from some series that air on Starz, the company’s newest content comes from NBC’s Saturday Night Live; new episodes appear on Netflix the day after each show airs.

As Netflix, Google and others (including Microsoft) get into the business of first-run TV content, the Post says a war is brewing between producers and broadcasters:

The studios that supply the networks with shows argue they own the streaming rights to in-season shows. But the broadcast networks that make a profit from repeats — and stand to lose audiences, ad dollars and syndication revenue if viewers can see those same episodes on Netflix — argue they control the rights.

Would having newer TV shows on Netflix make the service more attractive to you? Or are you perfectly happy watching them on the networks’ sites or Hulu (or, heaven forbid, on TV)?

Primetime Netflix [NY Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If Netflix offered current-season programming that covered a broad spectrum, I would literally pay triple, and even if it was a week later than on TV. And then I’d drop my subscription with Comcast. The only exception might be new shows, which watching a week later is somewhat pointless.

    • grucifer says:


      I’m with ya on this.

    • hotdogsunrise says:

      Couldn’t agree more. With my use of DVR, I rarely watch shows as they currently air anyway.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      News shows, though we regularly watch Daily Show episodes days later because the news (at that point) is still relevant.

      Until Netflix can stream live sports (when they are airing, not an hour or day later), I still can’t drop cable. If it was just pro football or the NHL, we could buy a standalone package, but that’s not available for college football.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        For those of us who don’t care about sports, Netflix is the shining light of awesomeness. I highly doubt sports networks will cave within the next decade.

    • ARP says:

      Amen. I would gladly pay $30+ a month if they gave me current tv and maintained their movie, premium series collection. They can even have Teired pricing:

      1) Tier 1 (basic): Current selection of movies and TV $10
      2) Tier 2 (Silver): Tier 1 plus basic cable and network shows (FX, AMC, Bravo, NBC, ABC, etc.) available within 72 hours. $25
      3) Tier 3 (Gold): Tier 2, plus premium TV series (Dexter, Tudors, etc.) available within 72 hours. $35

      Depending on how extensive the content is, I might even accept ads.

      • Leksi Wit says:

        No ads, no tiering of content. I’m sick of that cable-mentality. That’s why I cancelled my cable TV years ago and haven’t looked back. Hopefully the Netflix deal will go through and they will continue to provide quality streaming content with NO ads at a reasonable low price (like they currently do).

        • ARP says:

          I just don’t think its economically feasible to provide that much content, that fast, and stay anywhere near their current price point. So, they’d have to either raise everyone’s prices. If they do that they risk losing the “light” users. Their only option will be to tier pricing.

          My context is that if they can give me enough content, cheap enough, and fast enough for me to ditch cable, then I’ll tolerate SOME ads. If your view is that Netflix should be a supplement to cable and not a replacement, then I’d agree with your views.

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            how about the ad stays on the screen while the movie is loading? i don’t look at the screen then anyway…

  2. midwestkel says:

    Hulu keeps raising the amount of commercials per show every 6 months or so even for people that pay for Plus service which sucks. If Netflix can get the same TV shows and it only cost $8.99 then I won’t ever visit Hulu again.

    • smirkette says:

      Seriously. The only up-side to watching a currently airing show on Hulu now is that you can do so at your leisure. The constant ad repetition actually make the ads more obnoxious IMO.

  3. bruce9432 says:

    President of Netflix just dumped 100,000 shares

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Relevence? Context? How many shares does he own now?

    • midwestkel says:

      Maybe he likes cash because he is always selling shares just look at the trading history…

    • Supes says:

      If this was true, public knowledge, and in response to their business ventures, the SEC would be on him in half a second for insider trading.

      So either it’s (A) Not true, or (B) The SEC was informed well in advance of the sale, planned on a set date in the future, and unrelated to business opportunities, since a CEO has numerous reasons to diversify his own investments.

      • Mom says:

        Companies like Netflix give out shares to execs like candy. The execs have to sell shares regularly to keep their portfolios balanced. It isn’t news.

        If a company exec is *buying* shares, then you should buy too. They would only be buying if they expect the stock to go up. A lot.

    • Southern says:

      Actually he just sold 200,00 shares (since November 30th):

      Nov 30, 2010 MCCARTHY BARRY
      Officer 91,181 Direct Option Exercise at $27.24 – $30.89 per share. 2,650,0002
      Nov 30, 2010 MCCARTHY BARRY
      Officer 91,181 Direct Automatic Sale at $200.36 – $201.11 per share. 18,303,0002
      Nov 29, 2010 MCCARTHY BARRY
      Officer 8,819 Direct Option Exercise at $27.11 – $27.24 per share. 240,0002
      Nov 29, 2010 MCCARTHY BARRY
      Officer 8,819 Direct Automatic Sale at $200 per share. 1,763,800

      100,000 of them were automatic sales – “when price gets above $200 per share, sell”).

      The other 100,000 were stock options that he excerised at a ~$30 per share profit.

      He still owns 1.77 Million (1,770,000) shares.

      And he’s the CFO, not the president.

  4. SilentAgenger says:

    If the price remains as reasonable as it is now, then yes. I don’t currently subscribe, but I’ve been considering that option for quite some time now, and this development would greatly influence me to finally take the plunge.

  5. Kishi says:

    I think the question comes down to ads. I’m getting tired of Hulu putting in more ads- last show I watched, I got two ads every break, and it was the same two ads repeatedly.

    • ARP says:

      I’ll take ads if they can give me current content and keep the price low.

      • jason in boston says:

        I’ll take it 1 step further – give me a printable coupon for said product after watching the ad and we might have a deal.

  6. Dover says:

    Almost all of my TV viewing is through Netflix. With shows currently on the air, I am usually a season behind and I am fine with that. Having episodes available sooner would be cool, but doesn’t add very much value for me due to my viewing habits and I wouldn’t be willing to pay more for it.

    • kujospam says:

      100% agree with you. Hulu plus already does that. It would have to be as good as hulu if not better for me to upgrade. Otherwise I would cancel one.

  7. EmanNeercs says:

    If Netflix got more new content and continues to keep ads out of my shows/movies, I’d be willing to go up to $15 a month (for streaming alone). It’s how much I pay for WoW and w/o having cable television in my house that seems like a BARGAIN.

    So, I wouldn’t say it would make Netflix more attractive, as she’s the finest thing online imho, but it’ll definitely keep me coming back for more.

  8. MadTownBurt says:

    If they had current season shows from FX, available the day after they air, without commercials, I’d pay an extra $10/month. And I would cancel my DirecTv.

  9. uber_mensch says:

    I love my Netflix.
    Point, click, stream.

  10. Rose says:

    YES!!!!!! I seriously love it when this happens. Plus, it would knock crap-ass Hulu out of the park. Again… YES!!!!!

  11. MerlynNY says:

    If Netflix started streaming current TV shows and they were able to stream a good percentage of the tv shows that I watch, I’d gladly pay $15 or $20 a month and drop cable TV like a bad habit, along with my DVR.

  12. Echomatrix says:

    honestly, if they had all the new stuff I’d pay alot more than 8 bucks a month.. Wouldn’t need cable so I’d give them most of that money too!

  13. pjsilver says:

    My preference is to keep the subscription rate down by offering the option of content that is not current.

  14. HoJu says:

    I’d rather they paid big cash for a better movie selection. A MUUUUCH better movie selection. Seriously, Leslie Nielson dies and I can’t even memorialize him by watching one of his classics.

    • ichiban1081 says:

      I agree word for word with what you said. Leslie Nelson dies and I wanted to see Naked Gun or atleast Airplane! and it wasn’t available for streaming. Hell they have Robocop 2 but not Robocop 1 for streaming.

      • Southern says:

        As I learned the hard way, they add and REMOVE movies on a pretty constant basis – a movie that may be available for streaming today may not be available for streaming tomorrow.

        WHY they do this I do not know. I think it’s pretty stupid though.

    • scoosdad says:

      I was thinking of signing up for their 30 day free trial of the online streaming, until I visited a friend over Thanksgiving who had done just that.

      Nothing to see here folks, move along…. was my thought. And to have to scroll across this horizontal thumbnail collection in every category to find something was pretty lame. At least put them in an alphabetical list somewhere that’s quick and easy. I predict a pretty high churn rate on this, at least at the beginning.

      • GameHen says:

        Sounds like you were viewing the streaming options on your friend’s console device? Perhaps an Xbox? That’s just a partial library on there. You can view the full library, search, sort and add specific items to your personal queue on any internet accessible PC.

        If browsing through the thumbnails really bothers you. Login onto your laptop, search for what you want to watch. Add it to the #1 spot on your instant queue and then viola! It’s right up top for you to click on from your streaming device.

        • scoosdad says:

          Actually it was a Samsung Blu-ray player with embedded Netflix access. We had the same experience when we switched to his WDTV Live appliance, both connected to his plasma.

          There’s no point to having this stuff easily available on your TV by streaming if you have to run to your PC or laptop somewhere upstairs and jump through hoops to find a movie worth watching back downstairs on the big screen TV.

  15. failurate says:

    I would love this, but you know who is really going to be suffering? Asian reporter Tricia Takanawa who’s-gonna-tell-us-all-about-the-rain.

  16. progrocktv says:

    That’s all fine and dandy, but with yesterday’s FCC announcement ENCOURAGING ISPs to start metered billing, streaming Netflix is going to become A LOT more expensive.

  17. badtypo says:

    I don’t know if I can get rid of my cable, but I’d definitely pay more for shows from premium channels like HBO and Showtime, which I don’t currently subscribe to.

  18. GMFish says:

    Would having newer TV shows on Netflix make the service more attractive to you?

    Well, it would eliminate me being sued for downloading them from the Pirate Bay. That’s a good thing.

    • jason in boston says:

      It’s the uploading that is getting you in trouble, not the downloading. Start blocking some ports! That, or find a client that only downloads.

      • deadandy says:

        Um, torrents only work when people upload as well as download. You’re the worst type of torrent user if you never seed.

        • jason in boston says:

          I’m not saying I have a seedbox in the Ukraine to facilitate linux distro transmissions – well maybe I am.

          I merely presented a solution to his problem. There have been 0 cases of “downloading only” that have been brought to court in the US.

  19. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    I’m probably in the minority but I like the option of paying less money and just being a year behind on TV shows. I really don’t mind waiting, since it’s new to me and especially for dramas, I don’t like waiting several weeks between episodes (the 3 – 4 week mid-season hiatuses ruined Lost for me).

    • frank64 says:

      I don’t mind either. Paying more for later content isn’t worth the higher cost to me. I watch great shows a year or so behind, but I don’t enjoy them any less. I can DVR network shows using an antenna anyway. Netflx is for the cable shows I can’t watch and either streaming or DVD, all the same to me. I haven’t watched a movie in months, I think think many of the cable shows are of higher quality than most movies.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I completely agree about cable TV shows. Since we cut the cord (we just do OTA and Netflix IW & DVDs), we’ve discovered: Breaking Bad, True Blood, Dexter, Rome, etc. I honestly didn’t know how good some TV shows were until we got rid of cable.

        Plus, I really like watching an entire season over the course of a few weeks.

  20. Sunflower1970 says:

    I’d love Netflix to have current TV shows, with no commercials.

    I went ahead and got a subscription to hulu + for my Roku box. The box is connected to a TV that doesn’t have cable to it.

    I’d cancel that if Netflix got current shows, though.

  21. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    for recent content of current shows?
    depends on what they get. if they can get shows i actually watch then goodbye directv!

  22. Dethzilla says:

    Yes… it would be very appealing to me. It would bring me one step closer to saying bubye to comast… assuming their current pricing service doesn’t deviate too much.

  23. Donathius says:

    I already have Netflix (mainly for the streaming) – this would just make it better.

  24. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I was able to watch Legend of the Seeker in season without any issue. It was cool.

  25. XxSuntoucherxX says:

    Not for nothing, I would gladly pay twice my monthly fee just to see the last season of ER on Netflix since I missed it working and moving, and since I moved to a section of Brooklyn that’s served by Time Warner and not Cablevision, I couldn’t even watch it on the DVR.

  26. smirkette says:

    I would happily pay more for my monthly subscription if it meant I got premium content (HBO, Showtime & BBC please!!!)

  27. RP_Fan says:

    This would be awesome, IF AND ONLY IF:

    1. The price of a Netflix monthly subscription for streaming only is less than $25/mo.

    2. ISP’s continue to offer service in unlimited form. Metered billing from my ISP will make this option from Netflix worthless.

    3. NO COMMERCIALS!!!!!!

    Furthermore, I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to drop my cable TV service. It costs too damn much, has commercials, and I don’t like my cable company. Internet only in the above described circumstances would be wonderful!!

  28. Copper says:

    I would definitely pay extra for up to a week delay (would pay more for only a 24 hour delay). This would be awesome. Also, I am in favor of ala carte tiered pricing similar to what they have now.

  29. TandJ says:

    HULU PLUS … Are you reading these comments?

    The marketplace is not even mentioning your name. Your product is a dog compared to Nexflix.

    I just bought a Roku to stream Netflix to my 60″ Sony 1080p television. (WOW ! What a teriffic product for a low price. Merry Christmas to me.) I have the option to buy HULU Plus but have chosen to skip it until they have more current network programming. I bet the race will go to Netflix and Hulu Plus will be similar to owning a BetaMax when VHS became King. Wait, is there something still coming that was not even thought of. i.e. DVD vs VHS.

  30. Pasketti says:

    What I’d like to see is torrents of the shows, containing ads, made available as soon as the initial broadcast completes. The shows are put up within 24 hours anyway. If the producers put them up themselves, it would cut that off pretty much immediately.

    I’d be all over that.

  31. pot_roast says:

    I just can’t wait for the NFL to start streaming more games. They stream Thursday Night Football with Akamai, and it looks just fine. I’d take it…

  32. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I love Netflix and I would totally watch shows on it (in fact, I do watch older shows). I like watching stuff as it airs, but more content is NEVER a bad thing. I might be willing to pay a bit more; if there were stuff to watch all the time, it would still be cheaper than cable.

  33. FrugalFreak says:

    Improve Closed Captioning and search tool for it.