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Netflix acquires rights to stream 'Mad Men'

The video service agrees to pay up to $900,000 for past episodes of the AMC series "Mad Men," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

Netflix has signed a licensing deal to stream reruns of the critically praised TV series "Mad Men"

Netflix already rents DVD versions of 'Mad Men' but starting this summer will start streaming reruns of the critically acclaimed series. Screen shot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

According to The Los Angeles Times, after episodes appear on cable network AMC, the next place to experience the show's smart dialogue, clouds of cigarette smoke, and clinking martini glasses will be on Netflix's streaming service. Netflix paid as much as $900,000 per episode, the paper reported Tuesday.

As some executives continue to predict that the TV broadcasters and film studios would soon reduce Netflix's streaming-content supply, the Web's top video rental service continues to defy the naysayers.

For a while now, Netflix's message to TV producers is that Netflix's streaming service is a friendlier distribution format for serials than traditional broadcast or cable. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's content chief, told CNET last year that serials often don't attract large audiences in syndication. People can miss an episode and lose track of what's happening in the series.

But Sarandos said that since Netflix supplies on-demand video, there's no worry about subscribers losing their place. They watch episodes in whatever order they want when they want.

The message appears to be sinking in with some, but not with others. Starz and Showtime, two prominent pay TV services, have both said they would reduce the amount of TV shows they make available for Netflix's streaming service. (Showtime is owned by CBS, parent company of CNET.)

The LA Times reported that the first four 13-episode seasons of "Mad Men" will debut on Netflix Instant on July 27 and that episodes from future seasons will not begin appearing on Netflix until the entire season has aired on AMC.

Netflix was not immediately available for comment on the LA Times report.