Netflix in Streaming Deal for More ABC Shows


Netflix Inc will add more ABC television shows to its streaming service under a new deal that covers popular series such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Ugly Betty" and "Brothers & Sisters," the two sides announced on Wednesday.

ABC Television Group, a division of Walt Disney Co, will make available to Netflix every episode of "Lost" and "Ugly Betty," last season's episodes of "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers & Sisters," and a number of programs from the Disney Channel.

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ABC already has a roster of shows that can be streamed through Netflix, including some past episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost," although this is the first time anything from its ABC Family cable network will be available. Netflix will not be allowed to stream current shows earlier than 15 days after initial telecast, under the terms of the agreement.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Netflix, whose stock has jumped around ninefold over the past two years, is a leader in U.S. DVD rentals, with its service that sends movies and TV shows through the mail. But the company is increasingly pushing its streaming service, which has grown quickly and now accounts for one-fifth of U.S. Web traffic in peak hours.

In doing so, it has raised concerns among some in the media industry. One concern is that if Netflix is able to make available too much top entertainment -- too close to its release date on TV or in the theaters -- then consumers will simply cancel pay-TV services and rely instead on Netflix and other Web-based services, a phenomenon known as cord cutting.

The result is that some studios may try to increase prices that Netflix pays for digital rights, sources have said. Another option is to make Netflix wait longer before titles become available for rent.

Along with ABC, media companies CBS Corp., NBC Universal, owned by General Electric Co., and Fox, owned by News Corp, have some broadcast or cable shows available on Netflix's streaming service.

Shares of Netflix were down 1.9 percent at $186.25 in early trade.