Sony Pictures to produce original TV show for Netflix

In yet another example of why pay TV providers seem anxious to work out a complementary arrangement with Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), the over-the-top video content delivery company said it has cut a TV production deal with Sony Pictures Television.

According to a Wall Street Journal story, Sony--the production company behind mega-drama "Breaking Bad" on cable's AMC network and "The Blacklist" on Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBC--will become the first big Hollywood studio to produce a one-hour drama for Netflix.

Netflix has already flexed its original programming muscles and won awards for them, including an Emmy for "House of Cards." A new comedy, "Orange is the New Black," has also won rave reviews. Both, however, were produced by minor studio production companies. Sony is something different.

"We're willing to do different things and bet on the future," Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, told the Journal. "We're pumped up--it's a challenge to show a major studio can be in business with one of these services."

According to the story, Netflix will have the right to premiere the new show in all international markets where it's offering service, breaking a general policy of separating U.S. and overseas rights. That decision, apparently, was based on Sony's earlier experience handing international sales for "House of Cards."

The show's creators, Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler issued a statement that the new show will explore "the complex bonds between parents and children, brothers and sisters and the rivalries, jealousies and betrayals at the core of every family."

That sounds like the plot of the negotiations now reportedly going on between Netflix and cable operators, including Comcast, to make the OTT service an in-the-box application on cable lineups.

Those negotiations were cited as a reason why Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell issued a buy rating for TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO). "Netflix would likely be provisioned through the TiVo UI/home gateway that many of the smaller operators are deploying, and this could generate a positive feedback loop, increasing the likelihood of more smaller operators choosing TiVo," Mitchell said in Street Insider.

For more:
- the Wall Street Journal carried this story (sub. req.)
- and Street Insider carried this analysis

Related articles:
Netflix reportedly in talks with cable providers to be a set-top app
Netflix stock pops on international hopes
Virgin Media adding Netflix to TiVo platform

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