What Does Netflix Epix Partnership Mean For The Future Of Streaming?

Netflix has been getting aggressive this year in their attempt to compete with other online video streaming services like Hulu Plus, and a new partnership with Epix could be just the ticket Netflix needs to catapult themselves the top of the thriving online video streaming business. The Netflix-Epix deal, which could be worth close to $1 billion, gives Netflix sole Web-only distribution rights to Paramount, MGM and Lions Gate films, which is a big plus for Netflix and their customers. But what does the partnership mean for the future of streaming?

For starters, it can’t be denied that the partnership is a great leap forward for Netflix and should send them straight to the top in the online movie streaming biz. One of the biggest complaints of Netflix customers and potential customers in the past was that their library of online movies just wasn’t impressive enough. Netflix’s streaming service was mostly comprised of older movies, as they were unable to get the rights to more recent releases. However, the deal with Epix should prove a huge boost to Netflix’s streaming library and in turn to their customer base. Netflix will now be streaming a huge number of newer, more exciting films like Iron Man, Saw, and more a mere 90 days after their on-demand and premium pay television debuts.

With exclusive rights to web distribution of big name films, Netflix can offer it’s customers something more that other online streaming sites like Hulu cannot. Sites like Megavideo may offer some of these videos (at least until they are discovered and taken down), but Netflix will be able to offer legit, high quality streams in an easily discoverable library. It is likely that these other streaming sites could suffer as a result of the Netflix and Epix deal, at least in the movies department, as customers realize the broad range of films that can be streamed on Netflix.

According to Steve Swasey, a Netflix spokesperson, it’s not only the companies that rely solely on streaming for revenue that will be affected by this deal. In a Yahoo News report, Swasey said, “We now have streaming rights to 46 percent of the 2010 box office available to Watch Instantly compared with 45 percent for HBO.” However, Swasey added that Netflix is not looking for a big competition with HBO. He said, “We’d rather work with HBO just like we’re working with Starz and EPIX and we’d like to collaborate with HBO.”

It will be interesting to see how the online streaming space in general is affected by the new partnership between Netflix and Epix – it will undoubtedly lead to a boost in customers for Netflix, but how will other online streaming sites be affected. Will Netflix steal traffic from services like Hulu Plus? How will HBO be affected? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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