Starz Ditches Netflix

Starz has decided not to renew its contract with Netflix. Starz and Netflix signed a deal back in 2008 when Netflix’s Watch Instantly streaming service was still in its infancy. Starz was the first big name to make a major commitment to Netflix and was widely seen as a validation that Netflix had a shot at getting content that was not dredged up from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 vaults. Starz also got some premium positioning on the Netflix website. Indeed, when the Criterion Collection jumped ship for Hulu, there were a lot of grumblings that the primary motivation was that Netflix would not give Criterion the kind of placement that Starz enjoyed.

Unfortunately, it sounds like Starz has decided that Netflix can’t afford them anymore. When Starz leaves Netflix they will be taking along their original programming as well movies from Sony and Disney, which Starz controls the cable distribution rights to. The current Starz deal lasts until February 2012, but my guess would be that we will see little or no new content come from Starz between now and then. Sony movies abruptly disappeared from Netflix a few months ago and Starz also recently made an announcement that they were placing a 90 day window on their content before allowing Netflix to start streaming it.

The question remains: where does Starz go from here? My money is on an HBO Go-style service, but I wouldn’t rule out a sudden Amazon announcement in the near future.

Now, Netflix has some new problems on its hands. Satellite TV channel Starz released a statement that said it would not renew its distribution deal with Netflix when it expires next February, which means Netflix will lose Disney and Sony-related programming from its library. 


  • It makes sense to me, I mean

    It makes sense to me, I mean they own an ondemand channel (or several) and between Encore and Starz lots of content for their own ondemand service.

  • It’s a shame but there isn’t

    It’s a shame but there isn’t enough Starz specific content that I’d pay a different service to get it.  If it were added to Amazon’s Prime lineup, I’d be tempted, but if they do a pay-per-show model on Amazon, I’d have no interest.  Odds are it’ll just push me to use other methods to get any missing content.

    The article mentions one option would be for Starz to create its own digital extension.  Netflix is the nice, all in one package for me.  I really don’t want to have to deal with/pay for a Starz website, a Sony website, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.