Why Did Sony Pull Movies from Netflix Instant?

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Hope you weren’t hoping to watch any recent Sony movies on Netflix Instant anytime soon. The studio has pulled its movies from Starz’ VoD service, which supplies Netflix Instant with recent releases, as the result of being too popular for everyone’s own good.

Netflix notified subscribers of the removal of Sony’s StarzPlay movies on Friday, calling it “the result of a temporary contract issue between Sony and Starz,” and adding that there are plenty of other things available on the service “while these two valued partners work through their differences.”

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The problem is that the success of Netflix’s partnership with Starz has meant that Starz has hit its subscriber cap for streamed VoD in its current contract with Sony far earlier than either party expected. The current agreement between the two companies was slated to run through the end of 2014.

Negotiations to return the movies to StarzPlay and Netflix are said to be underway, with both Sony and Starz referring requests for comment to the official Starz statement that “Sony movies have been temporarily taken down from the StarzPlay service on Netflix. All parties are working diligently to resolve the issue and return the films to Netflix members.” Expect news of a renegotiated agreement between the companies soon.

Of course, Sony’s movies weren’t the only unviewable movies on Netflix Instant this past weekend. Netflix was mysteriously down for much of yesterday evening, due to what the company has vaguely described as “a technical issue that we fixed.”

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