Netflix moves into documentaries with Oscar contender

Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) announced two new original documentary movies this week, further evidence that its original programming ambitions do not end with serialized TV shows.

The company said it bought the rights to the movie "The Square," about the Egyptian revolution. The movie has already picked up several film festival awards and could be a contender for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Separately, Netflix said "The Short Game," an original documentary about children's golf, will debut online next month.

"The Square is documentary filmmaking at the highest level," Lisa Nishimura, Netflix's vice president of original documentary and comedy programming, said in a press release. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but the movie will be available in all Netflix territories in early 2014.

The move into documentaries could also give Netflix a way into movie theaters. Last month Netflix's programming chief, Ted Sarandos, upset theater owners when he suggested they were stifling innovation in how movies are distributed by blocking movies from appearing online the same day they hit theaters.

For more:
- the Los Angeles Times had this story 
- read "The Square" press release here 
- read "The Short Game" press release here

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