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Netflix defends UK ‘over spend’

August 24, 2012

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The chief content officer of Netflix has defended it from accusations that it is paying uneconomically high rates as part of a land grab in the UK VoD market.

Ted Sarandos told the Guardian that Netflix was prepared to pay a “tremendous amount of money” for the exclusive rights to show popular films and TV shows. But he denied the accusation of Michael Comish, the CEO of rival Blinkbox, that bidding wars sparked by Netflix had massively increased the cost of buying online rights for UK TV.

Sarandos said: “We are investing in the market because we believe this has the potential to be a very large market. It’s a well established market, so if you think that these are too high, then they’re too high for the BBC and Sky too.”

Asked specifically about the claim about causing UK streaming rights to rise ten fold, he added: “That’s funny … the way my licensing team works is that if something gets viewed a tremendous amount of times, let’s pay a tremendous amount of money to get it. It’s not like we’ve just dropped into town and started dropping money on this thing. We’ve been doing this in the US, which is also a difficult media market, for over six years. This is a big business and a big market and, yes, it’s expensive.”

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