Netflix told the world Sunday that it wouldn’t renew its distribution deal with premium network Epix, which means its 65 million members will lose access to films made by Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount at month’s end. That deal had been in place since 2010.
Epix didn’t sit around waiting for Netflix to come back to the negotiating table. Instead, a few hours after Netflix’s announcement, Hulu made its own announcement that it had inked a multi-year deal with Epix that will have that brand’s around 10 million subscribers watching The Hunger Games and Transformers by the end of September when the transition occurs, CNN reports. As ComingSoon.net notes, this will also allow Hulu subscribers access to such film franchises as James Bond, Rocky, Star Trek, Beverly Hills Cop and Friday the Thirteenth.
This is a big move for Hulu, which is mostly known as a place for viewers to watch TV reruns, and the brand will surely attempt to leverage it to boost its subscriber numbers. “This is a landmark deal for Hulu and it marks a huge expansion for our offering of premium programming,” the site’s head of content Craig Erwich said, in a statement.
Hulu expanded its film offerings within the past year by becoming the streaming home of a chunk of features from IFC Films after making a deal with AMC Networks. It also has an exclusive streaming deal with The Criterion Collection, making it the home for hundreds of classic movies.
A likely sticking point for Netflix is that it wanted the content to be exclusive while Epix “has agreed to non-exclusive terms, meaning the studio’s movies can also continue to show up elsewhere,” CNN reports.
Ted Sarandos, the head of Netflix, told Netflix users the news on Sunday and urged them to watch Epix films now on his service. He also noted that Netflix will put money toward creating quality content so that its subscribers could get access to it quickly.
“We hear from our members that you wish we had newer movies,” Sarandos wrote, according to Variety. “So do we. Studio licensing practices means it often takes more than a year before consumers can watch a theatrically released movie when and how they want. Just like we’ve changed the game for TV watchers by releasing entire seasons around the world at the same time, we have begun making movies that will premiere on Netflix globally and in some cases, simultaneously in theaters.”