Netflix To Delay Fox And Universal New Releases, More Watch Instantly Content As A Peace Offering

Today Netflix announced that the 28 Day delay that was previously only imposed on Warner Bros releases, would be extended to Fox and Universal New Release titles as well.

We’ve discussed this prospect several times on the podcast, with mixed sentiments. Many of the studios see Netflix as a hindrance on their DVD/Blu-ray profits, because physical media sales are dropping. The thought process is that if people cannot rent these new releases, they will go to the store and buy the DVD or Blu-ray instead. While this is certainly an inconvenience to everyone now using Netflix to consume all of their video content, the deal has been sweetened by the fact that these studios will be opening up their libraries, and allowing several titles to be included in Netflix’s Watch Instantly area.

This announcement is coming just as the Avatar DVD/Blu-ray is to be released in stores on April 22nd, to potentially extend the profitability of the film. This release however, is completely bare-bones, with a much anticipated double dip coming to us later this year, with extended sequences, deleted scenes, commentaries, and more.

What do you think of this news? Do you plan on going out and purchasing those films that you would have otherwise rented? Or will you just wait 28 Days and then add the films to your queue? Leave your comments below.

The press releases follow:

From the Netflix Fox Press Release: 

Twentieth Century Fox and Netflix Announce Comprehensive Strategic Agreement That Includes Physical and Digital Distribution

28-Day Rental Window Covers All New Releases on Blu-ray and DVD;
Streaming License Covers Complete Prior Seasons of Hit TV Shows Such as “24,” “Bones” and “Lie to Me,” as well as Catalog Titles

LOS ANGELES, April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox) and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced an expansion of their agreements encompassing both physical and digital distribution of Fox movies and television programs.

The expansion of the license for Fox streaming content, including a first-time streaming license for Fox TV shows that includes complete prior seasons of several blockbuster television series, allows Netflix to provide its more than 12 million members access to a greater variety movies and TV episodes from the studio’s library.

As part of the agreement, Twentieth Century Fox will have the ability to determine the window on its content in both the physical and streaming formats. The agreement provides for a 28-day window from the home entertainment street date for new Blu-ray and DVD film releases, and varying dates of availability for its library and new television programming. Among the first DVD/Blu-ray releases under this arrangement will be AVATAR, which will be available to Netflix customers 28 days after its April 22 street date.

“A key aspect of our content delivery strategy is to provide consumers with attractive options to view our movies and television shows across a broad range of media, windows, and business models,” said Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen and CEO’s Fox Filmed Entertainment.  “This expanded relationship with Netflix offers our audiences more choice and convenient access to a wide variety of our content.”

“This new streaming partnership with Netflix affords Fox the necessary flexibility to effectively manage our overall product offering by determining the content and appropriate window relative to our other media offerings,” said Peter Levinsohn, president of new media and digital distribution for Fox Filmed Entertainment. “We look forward to working with Netflix and our other partners to further enhance the digital experience across screens of all sizes.”

“In a rapidly changing world of windows and technology, this deal reflects a long-standing relationship between Netflix and Fox and is an example of how we can work together creatively,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.  “We believe the Fox deal, which brings some of the studio’s great TV franchises and a library of both contemporary and classic movies to the growing percentage of Netflix members who are watching instantly, is a win all around.”

The streaming agreement with Fox makes a wealth of popular TV series available to watch instantly, including all prior seasons of current hit series like “Lie to Me,” “Bones,”  “24,” and “King of the Hill,” as well as complete seasons of library TV hits such as “Prison Break,” “Arrested Development” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The deal also includes many popular contemporary films, like “Aliens,” “The Thin Red Line,” “Romancing the Stone” and Academy Awardâ„¢ winning film classics like “Patton.”  In all, a wide array of movies and TV series will be available to stream from Netflix, with new and more choices to be added over the lifetime of the agreement.

From the Netflix / Universal Press Release: 

Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Netflix Announce New Distribution Deals for DVDs, Blu-ray and Streaming Content

New Release DVD and Blu-ray Titles Will Be Made Available After a 28-Day Window; Film Streaming License Expanded

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., April 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced agreements covering the distribution of Universal new release DVD and Blu-ray titles at Netflix while providing an expanded selection of the studio’s movies that can be streamed instantly from Netflix to TVs and computers.

New release titles on DVD and Blu-ray will be made available to Netflix members after a 28-day window, giving Universal a dedicated time period for sales of its physical and digital offerings.  Netflix receives the benefits of reduced product costs, significantly more units and better in-stock levels four weeks after street date. At the same time, a license for Universal streaming content allows Netflix to provide its more than 12 million members more movies they can watch instantly.

“As the home entertainment market continues to evolve, we’re exploring new and creative approaches to distribution with our key studio partners,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “Our intent is to forge agreements that make sense for the companies involved and that, on the whole, improve the consumer experience and the movie ecosystem.  We believe the Universal deals accomplish that.”

“We’re extremely pleased to have reached this mutually beneficial arrangement that will allow Netflix subscribers to continue enjoying Universal’s film content on DVD and Blu-ray,” said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The first release covered under the new agreement is the comedy “It’s Complicated,” which will be available to Netflix subscribers 28 days after its April 27 street date.  New releases will continue to represent an important component of the Netflix service, and deals such as these with Universal will allow Netflix to be better in stock on new releases after a brief window while continuing to enhance the scope and attractiveness of the streaming content Netflix members receive.

The film streaming agreement makes premium domestic films like “Gosford Park” and “Billy Elliott” and library films  including “The Pianist,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Do the Right Thing” available to watch instantly.


  • The thing is, the theater to dvd window is so small now that I can manage waiting 28 days. I can still go see Avatar in theaters and its on dvd in 2 weeks! Netflix ftw.

  • The thing is, the theater to dvd window is so small now that I can manage waiting 28 days. I can still go see Avatar in theaters and its on dvd in 2 weeks! Netflix ftw.

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