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Wednesday April 6, 2011 1:12 pm

Netflix secures syndication rights for ‘Mad Men’ on Watch Instantly

Netflix Mad Men"Mad Men" fans might not get a new dose of Don Draper until 2012, but Netflix has inked a deal with Lionsgate to stream all seasons of the show via Watch Instantly.

The first four seasons of the AMC drama will be available to U.S. viewers on Netflix starting July 27. Canadian customers already have streaming access to the show.

"Mad Men has been and continues to be a representation of TV at its best and Netflix is proud to be the syndication home for this acclaimed series," Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix, said in a statement. "This deal secures long term instant access to an iconic show for Netflix members for years to come."

The deal is noteworthy because Netflix is paying for the syndication rights to "Mad Men"; reruns will not air on other broadcast or cable TV channels.

"The innovative structure of our distribution plan underscores the tremendous value of producing and owning content in a digital world where demand for content continues to grow and pathways for reaching consumers continue to diversify," said Steve Beeks, co-chief operating officer at Lionsgate, which produces "Mad Men."

Beeks promised more details on syndication plans for "Mad Men" shortly.

According to the LA Times, Netflix will pay between $750,000 and $900,000 per episode to stream the AMC drama. The syndication deal is interesting because shows like "Mad Men" are often difficult to sell, making streaming a better option, the paper said. A&E paid $2.6 million to air reruns of "The Sopranos," for example, and that has not done well. Despite critical acclaim, "Mad Men" also has a modest audience of about 3.3 million viewers.

On Thursday, Lionsgate announced that it had secured a deal with "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner to air a fifth and sixth season of the show on AMC, with the possibility for a seventh season. Though the show normally returns in August, season five will not likely air until 2012.

Last week, Netflix announced an expansion of its deal with Twentieth Century Fox, which added shows like "Glee" and "Sons of Anarchy" to Netflix's streaming service.

Recently, Netflix also moved into the original programming space, announcing plans to air the TV series "House of Cards" exclusively on "Watch Instantly," beginning in 2012. In the days surrounding that announcement, Showtime said it would no longer provide some of its original programming to Netflix, while Starz said it would delay the streaming debut of its new show "Camelot" for 90 days instead of one day.

Netflix also secured a five-year deal with Paramount Pictures for the rights to stream its films, but the deal will currently only be available to Netflix's Canadian customers.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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