Netflix Kicked While It's Down
Netflix rivals are ganging up on the leading online movie renter, following a string of PR debacles that have pummeled the price of its shares over the past month. This morning, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos announced that it had signed a deal with Fox to add "a broad selection of movies and TV shows" to its $79-a-year Amazon Prime streaming service later this fall (it did not disclose a specific starting date). While Bezos listed a number of older Fox-produced TV series to be added to its library, including 24, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer , it mentioned no movies. On Friday, DISH unveiled its new Blockbuster Movie Pass that resembles the old Netflix service (including its $10-per-month price). Some 100,000 movies can be ordered by mail and 4,000 are available via streaming. While the streaming service has far fewer movies than Netflix, it does include relatively recent content from Disney and Sony via Starz (which Netflix is about to lose) as well as from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM via Epix. The catch it's only available to subscribers of DISH's satellite service. Commented Advertising Age "Blockbuster Movie Pass seems more designed to protect and grow [DISH's] satellite TV service than to challenge Netflix directly in the near term." Meanwhile, Netflix had some good news of its own. The New York Times said that it had made a deal for TV rights to DreamWorks Animation movies that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said will be worth $30 million per picture to the studio. The films, which will include movies like the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda films, does not go into effect until 2013. Word of the deal lifted Netflix shares, which had fallen to a 52-week low. At midday trading, they were up 1.42 percent to $131.20.