New York Times’ Bits Blog has the details:
He says that Netflix was willing to compromise on the issue because “our number one objective now is expanding the digital catalog.” Netflix’s streaming service won’t receive any newer movies from Warner – “it’s not that much of a breakthrough,” Mr. Hastings said – but it will get a larger piece of the Warner back catalog.
The issue at hand is Netflix agreeing to a waiting period before they start sending out new releases on DVD. Warner Brothers wants a window during which customers have to buy DVDs in order to watch them when they are initially released. In exchange, Netflix gets access to more movies that they can stream instantly, and better prices on DVDs.
I am a big user of the Netflix streaming feature and I almost never watch movies right after they are released, so this deal is a win for me. More than that, I think it’s a win for customers in general in the long term. It would be nice to have every movie available instantly online, but we’re a long way from there. Any deal that gets the studios more accustomed to streaming of their movies on demand moves us closer to that ideal.
This deal is bad for people who want movies from Netflix as soon as they’re released to DVD, but a good deal for pretty much everybody else. Even if you don’t stream movies now, you probably will soon.