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Netflix, Starz strike streaming deal

Online pact includes 'Ratatouille,' 'Superbad'

Netflix has engineered a deal with Liberty Media’s Starz for the rights to stream about 1,000 movies a year on its website, including such contempo hits as “Spider-Man 3,” “Ratatouille,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Superbad.”

Starz is touting the deal because Netflix will pay an undisclosed license fee that will add to its already solid cash flow from subscribers who pay for Starz and its multiplex networks, including its high-definition video-on-demand service.

For Netflix, the deal will funnel dozens of movies in the early pay-TV window — plus lots of library titles —- at no extra cost to people who pay a monthly subscription fee to get an unlimited supply of movie DVDs by mail.

Netflix.com has been stuck with streaming mostly older titles because Netflix could not command streaming rights to the newer titles it rents to its 8 million subscribers by mail.

Because Starz owns streaming rights to the movies in its two major studio output deals with Disney and Sony, the contract will give Netflix an 18-month period for streaming Disney and Columbia titles within Starz’s regular pay-TV window for showing the pics on its cablers.

Netflix signed a separate deal 10 days ago with Disney to stream such Disney Channel series hits as “Hannah Montana,” “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” and “Wizards of Waverly Place.” Netflix also concluded a recent deal with CBS Corp. to stream TV series, including “CSI,” “NCIS” and “Numbers.”

Netflix.com users can’t download these programs or the Starz movies onto a portable media player or burn a permanent copy.

Because of Starz’s studio output deal with the Mouse, Netflix will be able to stream pics like ‘Ratatouille.’

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