Netflix Spends $1 Million Per Episode of 'Mad Men' for Streaming Rights
Netflix has inked a deal with Lionsgate TV for streaming rights to Mad Men reruns.
The deal covers all four seasons of the AMC drama series that have already aired as well as the show’s three final seasons, 91 episodes in total. The final seasons will only become available to Netflix’s 20 million-plus subscribers after the entire season has aired on AMC. The series will debut on the Internet subscription service, which is paying nearly $1 million per episode, on July 27.
The deal is yet another sign that Netflix is making a push into television's turf, following on the heels of its original programming acquisition of House of Cards, a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey.
The announcement, which follows a string of deals with film studios Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM, among others, as well as partnerships with TV networks like NBC and ABC, comes as the company faces growing competition from streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, and new entry Facebook.
Netflix has been streaming Mad Men in Canada since September as part of its Netflix Canada service, thanks to a licensing agreement with Lionsgate and its Canadian distribution partner Maple Pictures.
The original launch library for Netflix Canada had only the first three seasons of Mad Men. Netflix used that Canadian Mad Men perk to pitch its $7.99-a-month video streaming service out of the gates, underlining how its American subscribers still hadn't secured on-demand access to the AMC series.
The news comes in the wake of last week's announcement that AMC and Lionsgate had reached a new deal with Mad Men creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner that will keep him on board as showrunner for Seasons 5 and 6. The pact, which is believed to pay him in the neighborhood of $30 million, also includes an option with Lionsgate extending into a possible seventh season.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last week, Weiner said the show will end after its seventh season.
"Seven seasons seems like the right length for the life of the show, and I'm very excited knowing that I have that canvas to paint on," he said.
Season 5 debuts on AMC in March 2012.
Etan Vlessing in Toronto contributed to this report.