(Reuters) - Netflix Inc’s U.S. customers will be able to watch shows like “Gossip Girl” and “The Vampire Diaries” online after it signed programing deals with CBS Corp and Warner Bros for shows from their joint venture, The CW television network.
The programing deal, for shows from the current schedule through 2014-15 season, is the latest in a string of deals Netflix has been reaching to bulk up its streaming service and convert more subscribers from its more costly DVD mail delivery service.
Programmers had initially appeared hostile to what appeared to be Netflix’s threat to the lucrative cable TV programing ecosystem but have recently been reaching new deals. Warner Bros. is owned by Time Warner Inc, whose chief executive Jeff Bewkes had been one of Netflix’s loudest critics until a few months ago.
In the past few months Netflix has reached programing deals with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp and Sony Pictures Entertainment for award-winning shows “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”, as well AMC Networks for “Walking Dead” and other shows.
The new deals with Netflix appear to have tighter restrictions such as when they can first be shown, for example.
In The CW pact, older-season episodes of some shows, including “One Tree Hill” and “Nikita”, will available October 15 while others are set for January.
But episodes of all scripted shows of The CW this season will only be available to Netflix subscribers in the fall of 2012. Other shows through 2014-15 will have about a year’s delay before running on Netflix.
Netflix has inked the CW deal in the wake of a major fallout with its subscribers after a series of missteps by Chief Executive Reed Hastings in the last few months.
Last week, in response to a subscriber uproar, Netflix was forced to drop a plan to split off its DVD business with a new Qwikster brand.
Before that the company had already raised its prices by 60 percent for many customers who want to get both online streaming and DVDs, leading to hundreds of thousands of subscribers dropping the service.
Netflix shares have dropped more than 60 percent since early July when it first announced the price hikes.
Netflix shares rose 2.7 percent to $116.75 on Nasdaq at mid-afternoon.
Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Richard Chang