Netflix subscribers won't be able to stream the latest episodes of Showtime series under a new deal, TheWrap has confirmed.
Current shows such as "Nurse Jackie" or "Californication" will only be available online via the Showtime Anytime broadband service, a spokesperson for the channel told TheWrap. Only Showtime customers will be able to access those shows.
Episodes of Showtime original series that have ended their run — such as "The Tudors" or "Brotherhood" — will continue to be available for streaming for Netflix subscribers.
However, a Netflix spokesperson disputed Showtime's description of the deal. In fact, he disputed claims that a new pact is in place.
"We’re really not sure what they’re saying because Netflix and CBS announced a licensing deal, which included 'The Tudors' and 'Sleepercell,' 'Californiacation' and 'Dexter' are currently available to watch instantly streaming from Netflix as they are part of a separate licensing deal with Showtime," Steve Swasey, a spokesperson for Netflix, told TheWrap. "Netflix has a good relationship with CBS Corp. and we are in the process of renewing and adding shows from their many programming channels, including Showtime.”
The length of the new agreement with Showtime — if indeed it is signed — is not known, but the old arrangement ends this summer, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.
Although the price of premium web content has increased considerably since Netflix first struck many of its initial pacts, Showtime's decision to strike out on its own is in some ways an acknowledgement of the threat streaming poses to paid TV channels.
As Netflix has greatly expanded its online offerings through agreements with companies such as Starz and Epix, the incentive for customers to cut the cable cord has increased — threatening the dominance of HBO and Showtime.
Further, Netflix's entry into the original programming game with the purchase of the Kevin Spacey series "House of Cards" was seen by many analysts as a direct siege on the paid TV universe.
For Showtime, it seems, there is less incentive these days to make nice with the streaming hydra than there was when Netflix was first pioneering the service a few years ago.
Moreover, with the launch of its own online video service last October, Showtime clearly has designs on planting a flag in the sprawling web video landscape.