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Starz, Showtime restrict content on Netflix

Anyone who's read this blog knows I'm a Netflix junkie. The service is perfect for my husband and I, who live too far outside city limits to get digital cable (at least this was the case when we moved there) and don't want a satellite dish.

For about $10 a month, we get one DVD at a time mailed to our house and unlimited instant streaming access. It's a fair price and their content is vast. But one of the things I like most about it is going away, according to this New York Times piece.

For the past two seasons, we've been able to watch episodes of the Starz original series "Spartacus" on the day the episode aired or shortly thereafter. That perk is coming to an end, as Starz announced a 90 day release delay for Netflix instant stream, which will begin when their next series "Camelot" premieres on April 1.

Am I bummed? Yeah, a bit, but I'll still get to watch it three months down the road, which is a considerably quicker turnover than waiting for the DVD release.

This Starz announcement comes on the heels of Showtime pulling past seasons of their current shows from the Netflix instant stream, including "Dexter" and "Californication" (past seasons of "Weeds" and "The Tudors" will still be available).

What does that mean for Netflix?

The company doesn't seem overly concerned, though this is a sign that subscription cable channels feel threatened by Netflix. Understandable.

But I've often wished there was a way that we could get premium cable channels without having to subscribe to basic cable.

I imagine I'm not the only person who would be willing to pay a little extra for my Netflix subscription if it gave me access to some of that premium cable content. I certainly don't know the ins and outs of negotiating contracts in the entertainment industry, but if Netflix and the subscription cable channels could come to an agreement to offer the subscription cable content on instant stream at an increased rate, it may boost viewership for Showtime, HBO and Starz content.

It may be logistically difficult on Netflix's end to have two separate streaming capabilities, but they do offer a separate subscription for Blu-Rays (through the mail-in service, of course).

Thoughts?

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