These excerpts taken from the NFLX 10-K filed Feb 28, 2008.
We depend on studios to license us content for Internet delivery in order to operate our instant-watching feature.
Internet delivery of content involves the licensing of rights which are separate from and independent of the rights we obtain when acquiring DVD content. Our ability to provide our instant-watching feature therefore depends on studios licensing us content specifically for Internet delivery. The license periods and the terms and conditions of such licenses vary by studio. If the studios change their terms and conditions or are no longer willing or able to provide us licenses, our ability to provide Internet delivered content to our subscribers will be adversely affected. Unlike DVD, Internet delivered content is not subject to the First Sale Doctrine. As such we are completely dependent on the studios providing us licenses in order to access and distribute Internet delivered content. In addition, the studios have great flexibility in licensing content. They may elect to license content exclusively to a particular provider or otherwise limit the types of services that can deliver Internet delivered content. For example, HBO licenses content from studios like Warner Bros., and the license provides HBO with the exclusive right to such content against other subscription services, including Netflix. As such, Netflix cannot license certain Warner Bros. content for delivery to its subscribers while Warner Bros. may nonetheless license the same content to transactional VOD providers. This ability to carve-up distribution rights is unique to digital content. If we are unable to secure rights to content and to obtain such content upon terms that are acceptable to us, our ability to operate our instant-watching feature will be adversely impacted, and our subscriber satisfaction with this feature will also be adversely impacted.
Internet delivery of