Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why does Netflix only have some shows while Amazon Prime has others?

An ever-present question in my very obviously very busy and important life is: why does Netflix Watch Instantly only have some shows and not others?

Image courtesy goodncrazy.

Answer: contract law!

Netflix (like Hulu and Amazon Prime) negotiates content deals with media creators. These multi-million dollar contracts provide for Netflix to acquire "streaming rights" to show episodes and movies via their website. For example, in 2013, Netflix let deals with Starz and Viacom lapse while forming new agreements with Disney to show their 2016 movies.

Annoyingly, for those of us subscribers who would prefer to watch all of our shows via one provider, streaming video providers negotiate exclusive contracts. For a price, they gain the only rights to show certain content. Amazon Prime, for instance, recently garnered exclusive rights to Under the Dome. The providers appear to be jockeying for certain valuable markets, with Amazon Prime and Netflix Instant focusing on children's programming. Rumor has it that Netflix is even watching statistics from illegal pirated video sites to know what content to procure.

So next time you are cursing the fact that you cannot watch House of Cards on Amazon Prime, just remember--you have contract law to thank.


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