In an interesting development in the world of streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery has begun talks with Netflix on re-distribution rights for several of its high-profile HBO series, including INSECURE, BALLERS, BAND OF BROTHERS, and SIX FEET UNDER.
While these talks have not yet been finalized, the fact that they are taking place shows a breakdown in the “walled garden” strategy that had taken hold between streaming competitors. Over the past several years, it had become taboo for any studio with its own streaming platform to license rights to its content to any other distributor. Movies from Warner Bros. were only available on HBO Max, Disney titles would only show on Disney+, and so on.
The rationale was that it made sense for a studio to leverage its own content to entice viewers to sign up for its own streaming platform. However, a renewed focus on profitability has caused studios to look for any and all revenue opportunities, including licensing deals. The subscriber count is no longer the primary metric for success.
WBD CEO David Zaslav was an early adopter in moving his studio’s calculus away from a focus on subscriber count to profitability, so it only makes sense that he would be among the first studio heads to pursue licensing deals with its competitors.