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Netflix offers $100K per episode to stream new TV shows

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Netflix wants fresh content and it’s willing to pay to get it.  The NY Post reports that Netflix is bypassing TV networks and talking with studios directly about gaining access to new episodes of popular TV shows like Glee. It’s even willing to pay for the luxury: somewhere between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode.

Now a war is breaking out between streaming companies, studios, and broadcast networks. Studios argue that they own streaming rights to in-season shows; broadcast networks disagree, claiming that they own the rights.

“It’s a big source of friction,” one TV executive familiar with discussions told the NYP. “There are no agreements [on control of rights], but I think it will trend toward the networks being in charge of selling in-season in first run, and beyond that, the studio.”

Netflix has been on a hot deal streak. It’s stock is sky high and its subscriber base has exceeded 16 million. Last month the streaming giant made a deal with NBC to add back seasons of its shows to the streaming catalog and new episodes of Saturday Night Live a day after they air. A deal with FilmDistrict for first-run independent movies was also inked this week.

Fear and loathing in Hollywood

Hollywood and broadcast networks are nervous, however, that they’re creating an unstoppable giant. If Netflix gains access to current-season TV shows, it puts the service in direct competition with Hulu Plus, a service three of the broadcast networks–ABC, Fox, NBC–jointly own. Netflix already has an advantage over Hulu Plus in that it is available for far more devices including the three major video game consoles: the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. Netflix’s streaming traffic has doubled from last year. It is set to deliver about 300 million streams in 2010.

What do you think about Netflix increasing dominance? Is it good for the industry, good for consumers, or both?

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