Unfortunately for fans of Toy Story 3, Billy Madison or Mallrats, Starz's contract with Netflix is set to expire on Feb. 29, which makes today and tomorrow the last two days to enjoy more than 1,000 titles from the Starz Play section of the popular video streaming service.
The decision was announced in September, but Starz needed to wait until its contract expired at the end of February to pull its immense library from Netflix.
Starz Entertainment has ended contract renewal negotiations with Netflix, the company said in its September press release. When the agreement expires on February 28, 2012, Starz will cease to distribute its content on the Netflix streaming platform. This decision is a result of our strategy to protect the premium nature of our brand by preserving the appropriate pricing and packaging of our exclusive and highly valuable content. With our current studio rights and growing original programming presence, the network is in an excellent position to evaluate new opportunities and expand its overall business.
While Starz's press release says its contract expires on Feb. 28, Gizmodo believes Netflix will continue to stream content through the end of the month, including Leap Day on Feb. 29.
The original contract between Netflix and Starz was signed in 2008, which paid Starz $30 million per year over a five-year period. The deal gave Netflix about 2,500 new titles, including hit films like Scream and Scarface.
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Trouble began between the two companies last March, when Netflix notified users that they would have to wait 90 days to watch new episodes of Starz shows that were already streaming on Netflix. Before the announcement, new episodes of Starz original series would be available to stream on Netflix as soon as they aired, but many analysts believed the deal too heavily favored Netflix.
The movies that we have through Starz to watch instantly are unchanged, said Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey at the time. In 2012, some may or may not be available in the same window. We'll work that out at the time.
That summer, Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings admitted the fact that he and his company might have to shell out $200 million a year to renew its contract with Starz, which needed the money to pay for the rights to content from Disney and Sony. A few months later, Hastings changed his mind.
Starz has been a great content partner for many years and we are thankful for their support, Hastings told Business Insider. While we regret their decision to let our agreement lapse next February, we are grateful to Chris and his team for the early notice of their decision, which will give us time to license other content before Starz expires.
We have tremendous respect for the Starz creative team, and we look forward to someday licensing some of their original or licensed content.
Out of Netflix's total streaming catalogue of about 20,000 movies and TV shows, Starz Play makes up about 1,000 titles, or about five to six percent of the overall library. Regardless, enjoy these movies while they last.