In news that will most likely be met with meh by the major cable outlets, production company Relativity Media announced that it will make a deal with movie rental giant Netflix to stream its content via the service. While that may not sound impressive, the other part of this deal will see Relativity bypassing traditional home video routs and cable stations like HBO or Showtime and going directly to Neflix’s streaming movie service.
With the backing of backing larger companies like Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios, Relativity will grant Netflix first rights to stream popular movies that are typically sent to premium cable channels like Starz, HBO, and Showtime following the movie’s DVD release. This arrangement is seen as a major development because it’s the first time a major movie producer has turned to online distribution for its movies and not gone the traditional route.
Could this be the start of a trend? We’ll see. It would probably seem like more of a big deal (at least to me) if the movies were a bit more impressive and if HBO and Showtime didn’t seem more concerned with creating original programming than showing movies. Still, it is an interesting development to be sure. Time will tell if it has an impact on other companies and if they join in.
The deal is set to launch with movies Skyline and The Fighter, featuring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, with more titles to follow soon.