Finally, there's some (decently) good news for Netflix. They have announced that an agreement has been reached with Discovery Communications to "renew and expand" their streaming content contract.
This means that Netflix streaming customers will have access to past seasons of shows from the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. Note - "past" seasons, not the most recent seasons. The release mentions that the highlights from this agreement are popular shows like Man vs. Wild, Say Yes to the Dress and River Monsters.
Unfortunately for Netflix, this new deal is unlikely to completely reassure customers who have been rattled by the series of changes that Netflix has already enacted or announced. It is a significant content acquisition for Netflix, however. Until now, Discovery shows like Man vs. Wild, Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs weren't available at all to watch instantly. This is a pretty nice catalog of TV to add to the watch now collection.
The agreement will also add content from the Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel.
"Netflix is pleased to announce the renewal and expansion of our relationship with Discovery," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "With television shows playing an ever more important role for Netflix, Discovery is one our finest suppliers of top quality programming. We look forward to bringing our members the wide range of the additional episodes and series covered in this deal."
As far as content for their streaming service, the last big announcement that Netflix made was that they were losing all of their Starz programming. Unable to negotiate a new deal, Starz Play will vanish from Netflix streaming in February 2012. This is huge loss for Netflix, as Starz provides a lot of the new release content as well as films and shows from Walt Disney and Sony.
This new content won't make up for that, but it definitely shows that Reed Hastings wasn't lying when he said that the money saved from the Starz agreement would be put to good use finding more content.
The somewhat bad side of this for Netflix is that the agreement is only a "two-year non-exclusive licensing agreement," which definitely shows Discovery's hesitancy.
From the Wall Street Journal -
"We don't know" yet what will happen as a result of the Netflix deal, Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said, although he acknowledged that the deal includes "meaningful economics" for the owner of the Discovery Channel, TLC and Science.
Of course, the tumult at Netflix regarding the recent split of the streaming and DVD services in two companies (the Qwikster thing) has many people worried about the future of Netflix.
Moving forward, will other content providers be hesitant when it comes to agreements with Netflix? That's yet to be determined, but for today, chalk this one up as a win for Netflix - albeit a decidedly minor win.