Netflix and Relativity Media have announced a deal that will see theatrically released Relativity films licensed directly and exclusively to Netflix for streaming to its subscribers during the ‘pay TV window.’ Both parties are touting the deal, via a press release, as ‘the first time that studio quality theatrical feature films will be streamed via subscription by Netflix instead of being broadcast by the traditional pay providers.’ Under the deal, first run movies that would’ve traditionally been bound up in pay TV agreements with channels auch as HBO, Showtime or Starz will now be available to be streamed by Netflix subscribers months after their releases on DVD. The first wave of films under the deal will include the Christian Bale/Mark Wahlberg vehicle The Fighter and the Nicolas Cage action thriller Season of the Witch. It’s also been speculated that Catfish, the controversial doc that emerged as one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance, will be part of the first wave of titles under the agreement. The film’s theatrical release is said to be set for later in 2010.
‘We have always been about finding new ways to grow and monetize our business,’ said Ryan Kavanaugh, Relativity’s CEO, via the statement. ‘This clearly is a natural step in the evolution of the movie business and opens up a whole new world of revenue and marketing opportunities. Netflix has certainly made its mark, with a service that reaches over 13 million people and allows consumers to have what they want, when they want it. We have a shared vision, and this deal marks a significant change in our industry.’