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The one shortcoming of tapping Netflix's digital library is that it's a bit barren of new releases, but the dot-com darling is trying to tackle that void -- one deal at a time.
This morning's streaming deal is with FilmDistrict, providing Netflix subscribers with access to its flicks during the "pay TV window" that takes place shortly after a studio's movie hits the DVD market. In other words, Netflix will be streaming the FilmDistrict titles once they would normally become available to the premium cable channels.
The first two films to be offered as part of this morning's arrangement are Drive and Lockout.
If you don't recall seeing either film at the corner multiplex, you're not alone. Drive is still in post-production and won't hit the silver screen until next year. The sci-fi adventure flick Lockout may not even hit theaters until 2012, according to IMDB.com. In other words, it will take about a year before FilmDistrict productions begin raining down to Netflix's 16 million subscribers.
We don't know if we'll even want to see Drive and Lockout. They may very well bomb at the box office. However, that's also the point behind Netflix inking as many digital distribution deals as it can. As its selection grows from its current offerings of roughly 20,000 titles, there should always be something relevant worth watching.
This deal may be smaller in scope than the ones it has already inked with Relativity Media, Liberty Starz's (Nasdaq: LSTZA ) Starz, and Epix, but it's one more way for Netflix to broaden its digital library at a time when no one is even close to aping its model.
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) continue to push piecemeal video rentals. Coinstar's (Nasdaq: CSTR ) Redbox promised a digital strategy announcement in October, but that proved to be as anticlimactic as a Katherine Heigl flick.
Netflix knows what it's doing. Its drive is to lockout the competition.
Can anyone truly overtake Netflix in digital distribution? Share your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of this queue.