Netflix on Xbox 360 No Longer Streaming Sony Columbia Pictures Films

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xble Not that this story is completely relevant to us here in SA but I do think it’s an interesting one. Joystiq is reporting that Netflix streaming won’t have quite as many films available as may have been planned. Its seems a number of films are now no longer available to be streamed on the Xbox 360, including both Ghostbusters and Bad Boys. All of the movies that have suddenly disappeared all have a common connection, Columbia Pictures, which is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The films haven’t disappeared from Netflix altogether; they are still available to be played on PC’s and on TV’s through other devices. Which in turn makes this seem like a really childish and petty move on Sony’s part to ruin Microsoft’s party.

As it turns out, this is simply a matter of licensing. Given that Sony BMG music is available through the Zune Marketplace and other Sony Pictures Entertainment movies are still available for streaming through Netflix to the 360, this might not be what it seems which is too bad, cause I’m up for some excitement.

MTV Multiplayer contacted Netflix and received a reply from their VP of corporate communications, Steve Swasey. He confirmed that these movies “are still available to be watched on subscribers’ computers and on TVs via other partner devices, and we hope they’ll be licensed for Xbox 360 shortly.” While he wouldn’t comment on whether the timing is pure coincidence or if Sony put in a request to put this in motion, but he did say:

“As watching instantly becomes a more prominent part of the Netflix service, our goal is to have all of our streaming content licensed for all of our partner devices. We’re doing well in this area, but it will take some time before we fully achieve that goal. Today, titles regularly come in and out of license and there is a natural ebb and flow to what we have on license at any given point in time.”

1up have managed to contact Microsoft to see what their take was on the situation, but they were greeted with the standard “no comment” because as they put it “it wasn’t their comment to make”.

So this all seems to just come down to the licensing process to distribute streamable video. Should it really be a licensing problem, the timing is amazing. There is no proof of anything other than licensing issues but who knows, it all just seems so well timed I can’t help but ponder what another reason may be.

Source: MTV Multiplayer

Last Updated: November 19, 2008

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