Netflix announced Sunday (Aug. 30) in a blog post that it has decided not to renew its agreement with the cable network Epix, which will result in the loss of a number of television series and marquee movie titles such as “The Hunger Games,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “World War Z” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
To make matters worse, Epix has aligned itself with Netflix’s biggest competitors – Amazon and Hulu. Epix extended its deal with Amazon in February, continuing a relationship originally established in 2012, and recently announced that it has reached a multi-year agreement with Hulu.
The loss of thousands of Epix titles will certainly hurt Netflix in the short term, especially when one of the biggest complaints from subscribers is that there isn’t enough quality content available after they’ve binge watched the movies and shows that initially interested them.
But Netflix is focused on providing exclusive content – something that couldn’t be achieved with Epix offerings – in an effort to increase the brand’s long-term value.
“We know some of you will be disappointed by the expiration of the Epix movies,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, wrote in a blog post. “Our goal is to provide great movies and TV series for all tastes, that are only available on Netflix. We’re confident you’ll enjoy our ever-improving catalogue.”
That is evidenced by the company’s recent focus on original content, including TV shows like “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Daredevil” and recently released “Narcos.” The company is also looking to strengthen its original movie offerings with upcoming projects from actors and directors such as Idris Elba, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola and Adam Sandler.
However, the deal Netflix inked with Disney in 2012 is the biggest reason it will be able to withstand the departure of Epix in the long run. The pact begins to pay dividends in 2016, when the service becomes the exclusive pay TV home for the latest releases from Disney – including titles from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm – eight months after they hit theaters.
That is a lot of box office firepower heading to your laptop in the near future.
Netflix’s long-term strategy is well underway and becoming clearer by the day. The company’s focus on the production of in-house entertainment and the rights to stream hit movies from the juggernaut known as Disney should allow it to hold off rivals Amazon and Hulu.