Beginning in June, subscribers who use Watch Instantly will have access to “several hundred Miramax movies, with dozens of titles being added on a rotating basis,” Netflix said, confirming the deal, which had been anticipated.
Miramax’s deal is non-exclusive and U.S.-only. Numerous reports have valued the package at more than $100 million. Netflix stock sagged after the news, on a dismal day for tech stocks.
The “rotating basis” arrangement apparently gives Miramax the ability to sub out films that are ready for a Blu-ray release, for example.
Update: Netflix is now the largest source of “downstream” (downloading) traffic in the nation, according to bandwidth experts Sandvine. Netflix is eating up almost 30 percent of peak downstream traffic, compared with 11% for YouTube. (/update)
Netflix called the Miramax holdings “one of the truly great film libraries.” While many of the films are upscale “arthouse” fare, the indie also has rights to the “Scary Movie” and “Scream” franchises.
The Miramax pact puts Netflix back in the prestige movie business. Netflix recently lost rights to films from the high-end DVD label Criterion Collection, which strayed to Hulu Premium in search of better branding and packaging for its extensive catalog.
Miramax recently picked up distribution duties for Lionsgate and France’s StudioCanal, including downloads and VOD.
Miramax, a true independent in its early days, was sold to Disney in 1993. Last year, the Mouse House sold Miramax to a group of investors who are looking to monetize the main asset, the library.
“From day one, we’ve been very clear about the importance of digital and our desire to respond to the significant pent-up demand for our films — delivering to consumers whenever and wherever they want,” said Mike Lang, the new CEO of Miramax. “This agreement is an important first step in our digital strategy.”
Other likely online video partners for Miramax include Amazon, YouTube and Hulu.
The Miramax catalog includes a swarm of Oscar winners and cult favorites. Key titles include “Pulp Fiction,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Bad Santa,” “The English Patient,” “Kill Bill” and “The Piano.”
Netflix and Miramax said it was the first time the movies would be available via a digital subscription service, although a few titles such as “Kill Bill” have been out there.