Hate waiting for the DVDs to come out? On vacation, and all you have is your iPad?
Well, Netflix is here to the rescue. The popular movie and television series renting service has struck a new deal with NBC Universal to stream some of its popular older programming through its online offerings. That means Syfy shows like “Battlestar Galactica,” “Eureka” and “Destination Truth” will be available to subscribers of the streaming service instantly as early as next week.
The deal includes a number of other NBCU programs as well, including “Psych,” “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Friday Night Lights.” It comes on the heels of NBC saying it’s rejecting a deal with Apple Inc. that would offer many of its shows for a 99-cent rental to iTunes users, compared to the typical $1.99 and $2.99 pricing to buy a television episode permanently.
“We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content,” outgoing NBCU chief executive Jeff Zucker said earlier this week, according to Yahoo News. “We thought it would devalue our content.”
The difference with what Netflix struck is that NBCU programming being offered for streaming is older episodes, while Apple was looking to continue its next-day availability on brand-new episodes. NBCU, however, has been cautious about allowing its content online in the past, opting for some time to not utilize iTunes, which has become the largest distributor of paid programming and music in the world.
For Netflix, subscribers who also pay for an online streaming add-on, will be given unlimited use of NBCU’s available catalog of programs, playing episodes of television shows from their computer, their mobile devices, gaming systems like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox, and the new Apple TV when it’s released later this month. While there is an extra charge to pick up online streaming programming from Netflix, it’s a flat-rate fee, compared to the per-episode charge iTunes issues.
The deal — and Zucker’s stance — is not expected to affect NBCU’s deal with iTunes that it currently has, offering program episodes for up to $3 the day after they air.
The news is good for Canada, as well, as Netflix has just started offering online streaming services to the northern country for $8 a month. The company has no plans to start distributing actual DVDs and such in the country, leaving its services to online only in Canada.