Over the weekend, Netflix announced the service would be losing lots of big ticket blockbusters next month. Within hours, Hulu announced it would be scooping up those very movies. The streaming wars continue.
Netflix announced the sad news on its company blog yesterday. Though the company leads by taking potshots at the studio system, the reason it's losing big movies has to do with second party licensing:
Meanwhile, we have decided not to renew our agreement in the US with Epix, the cable network, which means that some high profile movies including Hunger Games: Catching Fire, World War Z and Transformers: Age of Extinction, will expire at the end of September in the US. If you want to see them on Netflix US, now is the time.
While many of these movies are popular, they are also widely available on cable and other subscription platforms at the same time as they are on Netflix and subject to the same drawn out licensing periods. Through our original films and some innovative licensing arrangements with the movie studios, we are aiming to build a better movie experience for you.
In other words, Netflix would rather not pay the big bucks it costs to licence these recent movies, and instead it wants to spend the cash on original programming. Fair enough.
Later yesterday, Hulu announced a multi-year deal with Epix, bringing many of the same popcorny flicks to its service in the next few months.
At launch, blockbuster films such as, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z, Wolf of Wall Street, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Robocop, God's Not Dead, and more, will become available to Hulu subscribers for the first time.
We can expect "thousands" of new titles to hit Hulu. Sweet for Hulu customers.
So goes life and death of movies on streaming services. This competition over desirable hits is part of what keeps streaming services getting better and better with original content and bigger libraries over time. As we've written before, it's also why no streaming service will ever be perfect. The takeaway? If you wanna see Transformers: Age of Extinction on Netflix, the time is NOW.