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Netflix nabs 'Mad Men' rerun rights

Netflix, in a sign of its growing importance in television, will become Don Draper’s second home.

The home entertainment company has bought the rerun rights to the TV series “Mad Men,” making its online streaming service the next place to watch episodes after the show’s initial airing on cable network AMC.

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.

Though the agreement is a sign of Netflix's growing influence in the television industry, it also underscores the tough hurdles Lionsgate might have faced trying to sell the show to a traditional network. 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.

MadMen A big hit with critics, “Mad Men” has always had a modest audience compared with other cable shows such as TNT’s “The Closer” and USA’s “Burn Notice.” Last season, it averaged just under 3.3 million viewers per episode.

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.

The first four 13-episode seasons of “Mad Men” will debut on Netflix Instant on July 27. Future episodes will not become available on Netflix’s streaming service, which many people access on their televisions, until seasons are complete. “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner has said he expects to produce three more seasons.

About half of the video streamed by Netflix is now television shows. The Internet service has proved particularly popuar for dramas, as many people choose to “marathon” several episodes in a row of programs with intricate, continuing plotlines like “Mad Men.”

-- Ben Fritz and Joe Flint

Photo: Jon Hamm in "Mad Men." Credit: Carin Baer / AMC.

 
Comments () | Archives (12)

Netflix on appletv is changing how people watch tv. now you can watch what you want when you want at the click of a button.

too bad the show is going downhill. Will barely pay off their investment.

I love Netflix, watching shows without commercial interruptions. The commercials ruin TV. There is only one drama on TV that I watch, plus dinnertime MSNBC news from 5 thru 7. That's it, nothing else. I would quit TV completely if I could get my news and one show from NetFlix.

As a member of SAG I'm just wondering, what does this mean for the actors in terms of residuals?

Very insightful of you woody. Now, if you will use some capital letters, you'll have some real sentences!

As Netflix streaming viewer on AppleTV, I wish they would get more films on there. I tried to watch Mad Men, and couldn't stand more than 5 minutes. It's self-indulgent crap.

I'm sorry but I don't believe that Mad Men is going downhill.. Quite the opposite actually.

"The Internet service has proved particularly popular for dramas, as many people choose to “marathon” several episodes in a row of programs with intricate, continuing plotlines like “Mad Men.”" - Duh. And AMC is the worse for not rerunning ad nauseum. Miss Weeds or Dexter and you have all week to catch it. Miss an episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men and you are pretty much out of luck. Miss enough episodes and pretty soon you stop watching. I know several people who will only watch these types of shows on DVD after a season is over.

Wow, thanks for the captivating insight there, Woody!

As a "Mad Men" fan, I'm grateful that the show will have greater legal online availability (and hopefully it will give it a good new source of revenue). However, I will not be getting Netflix because of this. Here's why-

A year of Netflix's service costs, at $7.99 a month, about $95 a year. For that same amount of money, I can get three seasons of "Mad Men" in HD through Amazon Video on Demand (they sell for about $30 each), and all four for not much more.

This is part of the transformation away from traditional tv.
Who knows what the final outcome will look like but as soon we have very high speed (you will need it to stream hd) in a lot of homes then TV will be fully obsolete.
Of course TV channels and especially cable companies are going to fight this and probably delay the inevitable.

My question is how will we find out about new tv shows and programming without traditional distribution?

Netflix should have skipped mad men in my opinion. The amount of money they are paying is too high. would have rather had them improve their movie selection.


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