Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has acquired the exclusive digital distribution rights for the upcoming FOX drama series Gotham, a move that is continuing a trend towards earlier acquisition of content by on-demand providers. According to RBC Capital Markets media analyst David Bank, who spoke with CNBC today, the deal is a coup for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) on a couple of different levels.
“First off, yes, they probably are on some level getting a better deal, because they are taking the hit risk, but my sense from the community on the digital side: Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, I think there is such a competitive spirit out there to acquire this premium content that it almost feels like the buyers are kind of; there’s an intense competition amongst these three players,” Bank said.
The deal sees Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) buy the rights to a television series before it’s even aired a single episode, a first of its kind deal that will likely set a precedent for highly anticipated series in the future. It comes on the heels of Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) buying the rights to the Sony-produced, NBC drama The Blacklist, after just its first season. VOD services have traditionally waited several years into a series’ run before purchasing their rights.
Gotham, produced by Warner Bros. Worldwide TV Distribution, is arguably the most anticipated new drama of the upcoming season. The series centers on the young detective Gordon, as well as the origin stories of many other characters in the Batman universe, all while Bruce Wayne is still a child. The series stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Donal Logue as detective Harvey Bullock, and David Mazouz as the young Bruce Wayne.
Gotham premieres September 22 on FOX, and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) will make the first season available for its subscribers at some point just before the second season of the show is launched. A second season has not yet been confirmed. The most recent Batman trilogy of films, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman, earned just under $2.5 billion at the box office.