In a first-ever, milestone deal, Netflix has bought the syndication rights to the AMC cult/critical favorite "Mad Men," reports the Los Angeles Times Company Town blog. The series has also won multiple Emmys, including Best Drama.
According to the article, "Netflix will pay ‘Mad Men’ producer Lionsgate between $750,000 and $900,000 per episode, according to people familiar with the situation. The first-of-its-kind deal means that reruns for the critically acclaimed program won’t air on a broadcast or cable network, as typically is the case. It’s the first time that Netflix has bought syndication rights to a currently airing program for its online streaming service."
Besides showing the growing influence of Netflix, the deal also likely underscores the difficulty some shows have in finding success through the tradtitional syndication model, the article explains: "Serialized dramas such as ‘Mad Men’ do not perform well in reruns, negatively impacting their value. For example, A&E shelled out $2.6 million per episode for reruns of HBO’s mob drama ‘The Sopranos’ and the show performed poorly. Reruns of ABC’s “Lost” and Fox’s “24” also did not deliver good returns for various networks."
Indeed, while the show attracts a smallish audience of about 3 million per edisode, the article notes, "The show, however, is expensive to produce. AMC pays close to $3 million an episode for ‘Mad Men.’ Lionsgate receives an additional $2 million from foreign rights and DVD sales."
Look for the first four seasons of "Mad Men" to be available on Netflix streaming service on July 27th, the article says.