Discovery Reups With Netflix For Two Years


Netflix, reeling from a marketing gaffe that could cost it millions of customers, continues to expand its streaming library, announcing Wednesday a two-year renewal with Discovery Communications for several prior-season series and specials from the nonfiction programmer's portfolio.

Under the non-exclusive licensing agreement, Netflix's streaming-only members can watch older TV shows and specials, including an expanded selection of additional seasons of series from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel.

New shows under the pact are to include Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild, TLC's Say Yes to the Dress and Animal Planet's River Monsters.

"Netflix is pleased to announce the renewal and expansion of our relationship with Discovery," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in announcing the renewal. "With television shows playing an ever more important role for Netflix, Discovery is one our finest suppliers of top quality programming. We look forward to bringing our members the wide range of the additional episodes and series covered in this deal."

Discovery "has always been platform-agnostic and committed to satisfying curiosity on all consumer distribution platforms supported by a strong economic model," senior vice president of digital distribution Rebecca Glashow said in a statement. "We are pleased to renew this agreement with Netflix, which provides us with programming flexibility and lets loyal and potential fans catch up and discover content."

Added Glashow, "It is a terrific complement to our multichannel video services and creates additional ways to earn value for our 25-year programming library."

Netflix in recent weeks has experienced a major backlash -- from both customers and investors -- with its decision this summer to eliminate bundled DVD-and-streaming service.

This week Netflix said it will completely separate the DVD-by-mail service and market it under a different brand, Qwikster. The company said on Sept. 15 that it expects to lose about 600,000 U.S. customers for the third quarter of 2011 because of the change, which went into effect Sept. 1.

The poor outlook has driven Netflix shares down more than 37% from the closing price last Wednesday, Sept. 14, representing a loss of more than $4 billion of market capitalization.

A survey conducted last month by Frank N. Magid Associates found that upwards of 16% of current Netflix customers said they expect to cancel service, with 9% citing the pricing change and 7% expressing dissatisfaction with the service.