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Value of a prime TV episode to Netflix: $100,000?

Netflix is getting serious about offering its subscribers television shows to watch, according to a New York Post report, but studio insiders are starting to fear that it's getting too big.

Netflix is willing to pay big bucks to offer current prime-time TV shows to subscribers of its streaming service, according to a published report.


The Web's top video rental service is offering to pay as much as $100,000 per episode for in-season TV shows, the New York Post reported today. In recent weeks, Netflix has signaled that it will wants to build out the company's library of streaming TV shows.

In the race to deliver movies and TV shows over the Internet, Netflix is far out in front. But the company's burgeoning streaming-video service could stumble, if it fails to provide enough of the kind of films and shows that viewers want.

In an interview with CNET last month, Ted Sarandos, Netflix's content chief, said some in the TV production world see Netflix as a way to overcome a growing problem.

Costs of producing dramatic serials are going up at a time when sales of box sets featuring past seasons are falling. In syndication, reruns of serials fare poorly because people hate to fall behind when they miss an episode, Sarandos said. Shows with more adult themes are also hard to pitch in syndication. With Netflix, show producers don't have to worry about that.

There's nothing certain about Netflix getting new TV shows. Within many of the studios and networks, there's a debate going on about whether they should limit the amount of content they license to Netflix, insiders told CNET. The big question is whether the content creators risk undermining cable pay-TV services, which generally pay them more than Netflix, and whether their agreements may be enabling Netflix to get too big.

On Hollywood's periphery, Netflix continues to license movies from independent studios. The company announced a multiyear licensing agreement with FilmDistrict, co-founded by one of the producers of "The Departed" and "Aviator."