Netflix is on a roll. In addition to the fact that the movie rental service may be launching an iPhone/iPod app in the future, Netflix announced a deal with Disney today to add ABC shows to its list of Watch Now content. As NewTeeVee reports, the first five seasons of Lost, seasons four and five of Desperate Housewives, season five of Grey’s Anatomy, and seasons one and two of The Legend of the Seeker will all be available. That’s on top of TV shows from NBC and CBS.
The concept of “Start Over” for a TV series (minus the commercials) is something Netflix virtually pioneered. Instead of going out and buying or renting a season of a television show you want to try out, Netflix has made it easy for years now to let you sample a series with DVDs that arrive in your mailbox. Not only great for consumers and for Netflix, it’s a move that has been good for major content owners as well. Why not convert new viewers by catching them up on an entire series? The Watch Now feature only makes it easier.
It’s interesting to me that cable and telco operators haven’t followed the Netflix trend more closely with their VOD offerings. There have been occasional exceptions, like offering season one of Mad Men before season two began, but for the most part, the VOD libraries consist of recent TV episodes rather than archived content. I believe this is an issue with licensing agreements more than anything else, but it would be nice to see it rectified.