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Netflix loses Hunger Games and other movies as Epix deal ends

Netflix said Sunday it’s decided not to renew its contract with cable network Epix, bringing the curtain down on a five-year partnership.

For Netflix subscribers this means the loss of movies such as World War Z and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. “If you want to see them on Netflix U.S., now is the time,” the company said.

Epix partners include Paramount Pictures, MGM, and Lionsgate, so Netflix users may notice the disappearance of a fair few movies come September 30, when the contract expires.

With the cable network’s titles available through a variety of services, Netflix’s decision to cut ties with Epix indicates the streaming giant’s eagerness to focus more on offering exclusive content – whether via its own in-house productions or through special deals with movie studios – a strategy it sees as key to the successful expansion of its business.

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Commenting on the loss of several high-profile productions, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a blog post, “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.”

The CCO continued: “Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you.”

Hoping to reassure existing subscribers and pull in a few new ones, Sarandos reminded folks that from next year the streaming service will be “the exclusive U.S. pay TV home of the latest theatrical movies from the The Walt Disney Company, including Pixar, Lucasfilm and Marvel movies,” adding, “The majority of these films will arrive on Netflix faster than traditional arrangements had previously allowed.”

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Sarandos added that the company is currently working with the likes of Brad Pitt, Ricky Gervais, Judd Apatow, Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola, and Adam Sandler on movies that will “premiere on Netflix globally and in some cases, simultaneously in theaters,” though admitted it’ll “take us time to build a robust slate of original movies.”

Epix, meanwhile, said later on Sunday it’ll be placing its library of content with Hulu from October, just after the contract with Netflix ends. The cable network also has a deal with Amazon Prime Instant Video that’s been in place since 2012.