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Netflix inks exclusive deal for first-run Weinstein films

The Internet's biggest on-demand video service will stream movies from the indie film studio before any other pay-TV providers starting in 2016, the same year it kicks off a similar Disney deal.

The lead actors from the film "The Artist."
A new deal would add more Weinstein Co. films to those already available to stream on Netflix, like last year's Oscar winner for Best Picture, "The Artist."
The Weinstein Company

Netflix will be streaming art-house heavyweight films alongside Disney superhero blockbusters before any other pay-TV services in a few years. The company unveiled a deal Tuesday to be the exclusive U.S. subscription TV provider to stream first-run movies from the Weinstein Co. starting in 2016.

Last year, Netflix notched its first agreement with one of the top six film studios, Disney, to be the only U.S. subscription TV service offering relatively newer movies from Pixar, Marvel, Walt Disney Animation, and Disneynature. The Weinstein agreement Tuesday brings Netflix an independent-film studio powerhouse to complement the Disney content.

It gives Netflix quick access to films from a studio known for cranking out award-winning movies, as it will be the source for the movies' first appearance on pay TV after theatrical release. The deal covers Weinstein and Dimension Films titles, and terms weren't disclosed. Showtime -- which is owned by CBS, the parent company of CNET -- had a longtime deal for those rights since 2009, a deal that expires as Netflix's licensing pact becomes effective.

Netflix recently has been evolving its streaming services beyond its catalog of older movies and television shows to become a competitor to channels like HBO and Showtime -- must-visit destinations for edgy shows and popular movies.

Netflix already has Weinstein films like "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" -- back-to-back Best Picture Oscar winners -- available to stream while competitors like Amazon's Prime Instant Video do not.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's head of content, said in a release the company was looking "forward to reinventing the pay TV window with the Weinsteins."

Harvey Weinstein, one half of the studios founding brother duo, said the deal "with Netflix is probably the biggest deal in the history" of his company.

"Together, we are discussing ways to reinvent the pay TV experience so that the audience can get even more for their money," Weinstein said. "Their enthusiasm for movies of all kinds was the big factor in our choosing Netflix," he added, calling Netflix "the most significant new force in the entertainment industry."