Continuing with aggressive acquisitions, Netflix announced today that a $200 million deal with Disney's ABC will allow Netflix customers to stream a host of primetime shows from the network as well as the Disney Channel.
ABC Television Group, a division of Walt Disney Co, will make available to Netflix every episode of "Lost" and "Ugly Betty," last season's episodes of "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters," and a number of programs from the Disney Channel.
ABC already has a roster of shows that can be streamed through Netflix, including some past episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost," although this is the first time anything from its ABC Family cable network will be available. Netflix will not be allowed to stream current shows earlier than 15 days after initial telecast, under the terms of the agreement.
This deal is yet another major move in making Netflix a force to be reckoned with for cable companies and other streaming services. Last July, Netflix inked a $32 million deal with Relativity Media that gave it first dibs on the films the company owned. At the time, the L.A. Times said the deal put Netflix in direct competition with premium movie channels like HBO.
The ABC deal, the Times reports, puts Netflix in a head-to-head battle with Hulu:
The agreement would appear to heighten the rivalry between Netflix and Hulu, the online streaming service in which Disney is a part owner. Both services are vying for subscribers who want the flexibility to watch television shows and movies on a variety of devices, whenever the mood strikes them.
"TV content streamed from Netflix has proven to be immensely popular with our members," Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a statement. "Adding to our existing Disney-ABC lineup with great network and cable shows, and opening up ABC Family for the first time, are important steps in creating a wide and diverse selection of content Netflix members of all ages can watch."