Netflix and Relativity Media ink movie deal

Mumbai: Netflix Inc. and Relativity Media, LLC have inked a long term agreement through, which major theatrically released films owned by Relativity will be licensed directly and exclusively to Netflix for streaming to its subscribers during the "pay TV window."

The deal marks a continued shift in the distribution of major motion pictures in the U.S, under which contemporary movies previously encumbered by pay TV agreements with channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz will become available to be streamed from Netflix after their release on DVD. It will be the first time that studio quality theatrical feature films will be streamed via subscription by Netflix. It opens up a new revenue stream for such movies.

Among the first wave of films covered under the Netflix-Relativity deal are The Fighter and Skyline. Both films are scheduled for theatrical release later this year and to be available at Netflix in early 2011. Also on tap for Netflix are Rogue Pictures’ Nicolas Cage action/thriller "Season of the Witch" and "Movie 43," written and directed by Peter Farley.

Relativity has financed, co-financed or produced more than 200 features, generating more than $13 billion in worldwide box office revenue. Current Relativity theatrical releases include "Robin Hood," "Get Him to the Greek" and "Grown Ups." Relativity produces and/or finances between 20 and 30 pictures a year, and it has more than 10 "single picture" movies that are scheduled to be released over the next 12 months.

"Through our partnership with Relativity, films will start to become available to our members just months after their DVD release. We are thrilled to partner with them on their exciting upcoming slate of films and to be part of each other’s ongoing success," said for Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

"We have always been about finding new ways to grow and monetize our business. Netflix and we have a shared vision, and this deal marks a significant change in our industry," said Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh.

"Consumer demand and interest in new platforms are evolving as quickly as technology. The growing number of Netflix subscribers streaming first run movies is very exciting and presents another viable option for us to maximize the long-term business behind our properties”, said Relativity president Michael J. Joe.