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For Halloween, Netflix treats subscribers to 'Dexter'

Thanks to a licensing deal with Showtime parent CBS, Netflix will have the first four seasons of the serial-killer thriller available to stream, with the last four seasons arriving New Year's Day.


Netflix and CBS, the parent of premium channel Showtime, have struck a licensing deal to bring every episode of "Dexter" to the streaming-video site for US subscribers.

The first four seasons of the show, which just concluded its eighth and final season last month, will be available to stream starting on Halloween on Thursday. Seasons five through eight come online on New Year's Day. It brings the series quickly to the online streaming world outside Showtime's own garden.

Online on-demand streaming of "Dexter" has been available on Showtime's online portal, Showtime Anytime, to people who already pay for the premium network with a participating distributor such as Comcast or DirecTV.

But "Dexter" hasn't been available to stream as part of subscription services like Netflix or Amazon Prime Instant Video, even though sites like Netflix have other Showtime series -- "Weeds," for example -- among its on-demand library.

The announcement so soon after "Dexter" finished its run underscores how digital rights have become a lucrative avenue for media companies. CBS, which is also the parent company of CNET, struck a deal with Netflix rival Amazon this summer to pass along episodes of its sci-fi hit "Under the Dome" to the instant-streaming platform just four days after they aired on broadcast. The value of the deal, in addition to international rights for the show, made "Under the Dome" profitable for CBS before a single viewer saw it.

With the final season of "Dexter" coming to Netflix little more than three months after it wrapped up for TV subscribers, Showtime is welcoming new platforms to milk the value of one of its biggest hits.