Users of Netflix‘s streaming services are going to be happy puppies come September 1, when the company’s new deal with Epix, which controls rights to Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM films, goes into effect. Gaining ground over their rent-and-return physical media business, streaming and on-demand cable services are becoming the preferred method of rental for many American homes, with $900 million going to the channel over the next five years.
This deal gives Netflix exclusive streaming rights to major upcoming films like The Expendables, Iron Man 2, Transformers 3, and Thor. In addition, this will almost certainly encourage further adoption of Netflix clients into media boxes and Blu-ray players of all price points.
Needless to say, this announcement doesn’t bode well for former rental champion Blockbuster. Their stores are closing at record pace, their stock is being used for toilet paper, and they seem to be late on the pickup with every new rental revolution. Redbox is trouncing Blockbuster in kiosk rentals, and with Netflix taking all the online traffic away, you really have to wonder how much longer they as a brand will survive.
It’s not like Netflix has no competition however. With TV-centric competitor Hulu coming in behind them with strong backing from Universal, we’re about to see a major struggle between the two services over exclusive rights to content. With contracts for HBO, and their control of Fox and WB properties still up for grabs, this long and bloody battle isn’t likely to be settled any time soon. I just hope that we’re not stuck paying for two or more services once the smoke clears just to get access to the year’s biggest hits.