Netflix will not renew its Epix movies deal at the end of September, continues shift towards exclusives

The Netflix logo is is shown on an ipad in Encinitas, California, April 19,2013. Netflix Inc reported on April 22, 2013 a first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations as the dominant video rental service added new streaming subscribers in the United States. Netflix shares soared to $207.39 in after-hours trading, rising 19 percent from a close of $174.37 on Nasdaq. For January through March, Netflix recorded $19 million in net income, excluding a loss for retiring debt, and adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents. Picture taken April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES) - RTXYW4I

Netflix today announced its agreement with the cable network Epix will not be renewed next month. That means as of September, U.S. Netflix users will lose”some high profile movies” including Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z, and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Epix, which has a joint venture for movie licenses from Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, and Lionsgate, previously signed an exclusive streaming deal with Netflix. The exclusivity of that agreement expired in August 2012, and in September of that year Amazon signed a deal with Epix to compete more with Netflix.

If you’re a Netflix user and have no interest in getting your Epix movies from another source, the company has some advice. If you want to watch these movies, “now is the time.”

The company explains that “while many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods.” Netflix instead wants to focus on original films and “some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios” that will result in “a better movie experience” for its members.

Instead of Epix movies, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos wants U.S. users to be excited about what the company has planned for the next few months:

  • In October – Beasts of No Nation, an unflinching war drama from Emmy Award winning director, Cary Fukunaga, director of True Detective, and Golden Globe winner, Idris Elba, star of Luther and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
  • In December – Ridiculous Six, the first of four new comedies from Adam Sandler, will debut with an all-star cast including Terry Crews, Taylor Lautner, Rob Schneider, Jorge Garcia, Luke Wilson, Steve Buscemi, Nick Nolte, Whitney Cummings, Will Forte, Steve Zahn, David Spade, John Turturro and Harvey Keitel.
  • Also in December – Sofia Coppola directs Bill Murray in a form-bending holiday classic-to-be A Very Murray Christmas.
  • In early 2016 – the sweeping action thriller Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Green Legend produced by Harvey Weinstein and the latest adventure of the much adored Pee-wee Herman in Pee-wee’s Big Holiday produced by Judd Apatow.
  • We also have some great family films coming your way, including Minions, Hotel Transylvania 2, and Home through arrangements with Sony Pictures Animation, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. Starting next year, we will be the exclusive US pay TV home of the latest theatrical movies from the The Walt Disney Company, including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel movies.

Netflix promises that the majority of these films will arrive “faster than traditional arrangements had previously allowed” and part of an “ever-improving catalogue.” The company also emphasized that its goal is “to provide great movies and TV series for all tastes, that are only available on Netflix.”

And that’s the real story here: Netflix has always had to strike licensing deals with various partners. As it moves to creating its own content though, it’s much more interested in such deals if they’re exclusive to its service. Epix wasn’t.

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