Report: $100m rights deal covers 700 titles

Ever since Filmyard Holdings bought Miramax in December, the first item on the agenda has been how to monetize the company’s 700-pic library.

After starting negotiations with Google’s YouTube on a streaming deal to digitally rent and sell its films online, Miramax’s new owners are now close to a similar deal with Netflix.

The deal would certainly be lucrative: more than $100 million over five years, sources close to the talks confirm.

Miramax’s library includes pics like “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting,” and more recent releases like Jennifer Aniston comedy “The Switch.”

Filmyard, run by Ron Tutor, Thomas J. Barrack Jr., Colony Capital and Qatar Holding, paid the Walt Disney Co. $663 million for Miramax.

The deal makes sense for Netflix, which is trying to assemble a vast library of catalog titles to drive its online subscription business. That effort took some hits earlier this week when both Showtime and Starz separately announced limits to the amount of TV programming to be made available for streaming on Netflix.

Either way, Netflix has been ponying up considerable coin for those deals, paying separate $200 million-a-year streaming deals for films from Epix and TV shows from CBS and ABC, Disney Channel and ABC Family. It also spent a large sum to lock down a five-year pact with Relativity Media.

Netflix declined comment.

Earlier this year, Miramax CEO Michael Lang said digital distribution deals were key for Miramax and that it would use such pacts to replace traditional pay TV pair-ups with HBO or Showtime.

A Netflix deal would follow Miramax’s move in February to have Lionsgate and StudioCanal distribute the company’s film library on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as digital platforms, in the U.S. and overseas territories.

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