2ND UPDATE: Deal is done. See news release below.

UPDATE: I’ve learned that as soon as tomorrow there’ll be a news release about EPIX giving Netflix exclusive online rights to films from its partners — Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM — for the next 5 years in exchange with $1 billion in licensing fees. Of course, who knows what those 5 years will bring in terms of product? Paramount has been self-financing its limited product and mostly distributing pics, Lionsgate is fighting a hostile takeover, and MGM is a corpse waiting for an afterlife. But all Netflix seems to care about these days is supposedly shaking up the pay channel world with exclusive online streaming deals like the recent one with Relativity Media. And who knows what shape Ryan Kavanaugh’s company will be in a few years.

NEW YORK and BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., August 10, 2010 – EPIX™ and Netflix, Inc. [Nasdaq: NFLX] today announced an agreement through which Netflix members can instantly watch an array of new releases and library titles from EPIX streamed over the Internet from Netflix. Movies from the multi-year deal will begin streaming from Netflix on September 1 and include movies from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM.

EPIX has subscription pay TV rights to new releases and movies from the libraries of its partners and will make these movies available to Netflix 90 days after their premium pay TV and subscription on demand debuts. Historically, the rights to distribute these films are pre-sold to pay TV for as long as nine years after their theatrical release.

For Netflix, the agreement is a significant step in building the company’s streaming offer, adding many popular movie titles from some of the world’s leading studios. It adds meaningfully to a growing library of movies and TV shows that can be watched instantly on TVs via a range of leading consumer electronic devices capable of streaming from Netflix and on computers.

For EPIX, the deal reflects the value of the EPIX platform which, from its start, has provided new rights and flexibility for the distribution of its movies. The agreement allows EPIX to continue the distribution of popular content on a variety of platforms and preserve the premium television, subscription on demand and online window reserved for cable, satellite and telco television partners.

“Adding EPIX to our growing library of streaming content, as the exclusive Internet-only distributor of this great content, marks the continued emergence of Netflix as a leader in entertainment delivered over the Web,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “The EPIX deal is an example of the innovative ways in which we’re partnering with major content providers to broaden the scope and freshness of choices available to our members to watch instantly over the Internet.”

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