What Hollywood Execs Privately Say About Netflix

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is openly hostile, refusing to license premium HBO content to Netflix’s streaming service while questioning the virtue of dealing with a company that might erode the perceived value of content. Phil Kent, CEO of Turner Broadcasting Systems, a Time Warner company, has gone further, warning TV executives who might be thinking about selling Netflix streaming rights to their shows to think twice about the impact those deals might have on traditional syndication pacts.

"We’ve been telling our suppliers — the various studios that we buy from — that in the future, [Netflix streaming deals are] going to have a significant impact on what we’re going to be willing to pay for programming or even bid at all," Kent told investors Jan 5.

But despite those gripes, just about every major content creator now has a streaming deal with Netflix. The company secured streaming rights to 49 percent of the domestic box-office tally for 2010 and continues to sign up Hollywood partners. “Even though it has a detrimental effect on their business, everyone keeps feeding them content,” BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield says.

An interesting article, though it's sad to think that a network as progressive as HBO in terms of content is so resistant to change when it comes to distribution.