The zombie apocalypse has come to Netflix, but it might not be enough to stop the company’s shares from leaking blood, according to a leading entertainment analyst.
The first season of premium cable channel AMC’s hit zombie show “The Walking Dead,” will be available streaming exclusively through Netflix beginning Friday thanks to a deal struck between the two companies, according to a press release from AMC.
“Additional seasons of The Walking Dead, as well as certain future AMC and Sundance Channel programming, will be streaming instantly to Netflix members just prior to the premiere of subsequent seasons,” the release notes, meaning that unfortunately for all of those zombie fans out there, they will have to wait a while before they can catch new episodes of “The Walking Dead” season two, which begins on Sunday, October 16.
“The Walking Dead” is by far AMC’s most popular show, averaging 3.5 million viewers in the coveted age 18-to-49 demographic, more than double that of AMC’s second-most-popular title, the critically acclaimed “Mad Men,” which had already available streaming and on disc from Netflix.
But in the wake of Netflix’s loss of Starz content, which includes all Disney and Sony Pictures movies, the move probably isn’t enough to revive Netflix shares, which have plummeted by 62 percent since their high in July.
“The AMC deal is nice to have, but its content represents a fraction of what Netflix is losing in the Starz deal,” entertainment analyst Michael Pachter, of Wedbush Securities, wrote to TPM in an email.
Netflix shares were down 4 percent at the time of this posting.
Netflix will also get similar rights to all of AMC’s original content across its three channels, including IFC’s “Portlandia” and “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”; WE tv’s “Braxton Family Values”, “My Fair Wedding”, and “Bridezillas”; and Sundance Channel’s “All On The Line with Joe Zee” and “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.”
The news is the second smidgen of good news for Netflix and customers in recent weeks, as the nation’s largest video rental outlet attempts to win back goodwill and ease investor jitters in the wake of the September contract dispute with Starz (which caused Netflix shares to further tank) and the drastically unpopular price hike earlier this summer, which drove away 1 million customers. And of course, then there was Netflix’s bizarre move to spin-off its DVD (and Blu-Ray) mail rental service into a separate company called Qwikster, which baffled customers and analysts alike.
On September 26, though, Netflix proudly announced it had entered into a $30 million dollar deal to get the exclusive replay rights for Dreamworks movies, even excluding cable TV re-syndication, the first time a major movie studio has chosen to go that route.
Netflix billed that move as “a game-changing deal,” but tech writers and analysts were less sanguine, saying that while good news for the company, it wouldn’t actually help the bottom line.