Showtime Responds to Growing Threat From Netflix, Limits Availability of Its Programming

Mar 22, 2011  •  Post A Comment

Netflix has just struck a deal for its first original series, “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, putting itself in direct competition with premium cable channels. But Showtime was already prepared for battle, Crain’s New York Business reported.

By midyear, early seasons of Showtime’s hit original series “Californication” and “Dexter” will no longer be available for streaming on Netflix, according to a television insider. The network has already nixed streaming of later seasons, as well as all episodes of newer series.

With 20 million subscribers, Netflix has emerged as the biggest threat to premium cable, but the networks are also wary of Hulu, iTunes and Amazon.

“We’re more conscious of [the competition] now,” said Showtime CEO Matthew Blank, who declined to comment on specific shows. “With all the options out there, we want to be sure people know they have to subscribe to see ‘Dexter’ or ‘The Borgias.’”

Some shows that have ended, including “The Tudors,” will continue to be available for streaming, the insider said. The status of “Weeds,” produced by Lionsgate, was unclear.

A Netflix spokesman declined to comment.

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