Warner Bros. Discovery Pulling All Of Its Content From Netflix?

Warner Bros. could be pulling its content off Netflix, as David Zaslav is not happy with the pay structure currently.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

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Warner Bros. Discovery might remove all its content from Netflix as CEO David Zaslav is unhappy with its current payment structure. At present, the streamer pays producers over the course of 18 to 24 months. While this method of monetary distribution has been in effect for a few years, the subject came to the forefront after The Sandman was renewed for a second season.

Produced by Warner Bros. Discovery’s television division, the fantasy drama had been a huge hit for Netflix. But Zaslav, who is now in charge of its largest outside supplier, has expressed his displeasure to several colleagues over the last few weeks with some business consequences. According to Deadline, the CEO has instructed his team to pause the selling of finished shows to the streamer.

“It’s an odd way of looking at it,” one Warner Bros. Discovery insider told the publication about the Netflix move. The unnamed individual said the pay structure is just how the industry works, especially with the streaming giant. “He [Zaslav] has paid big numbers [by Netflix] and the company has been happy with that,” the source added. “It’s like he suddenly discovered what the payment terms were.”

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Warner Bros. Discovery recently secured new payments for various programming from Netflix when it launched its ad-tier option. This meant the studio would be compensated for the right to sell advertising space within some of its shows. But Zaslav and his unhappiness with the rival streamer could impact the future of several popular series like The Sandman.

Warner Bros. Discovery also develops other Netflix originals. This includes Sweet Tooth from Robert Downey Jr., the serial killer thriller You starring Penn Badgley, and Manifest which was saved after being canceled by NBC before its final season. The streaming platform also licenses various WBTV shows through the studio’s previous CW content deal. This includes catalog titles like All American, The Flash, Riverdale, and Supernatural.

However, it seems like The Sandman renewal process was the catalyst for the friction between Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix. Despite racking up approximately 200 million viewing hours in the first ten days of its release, the series was only picked up for a second season three months later. The move was surprising due to the show’s generous budget and experienced creative team of Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, and Allan Heinberg.

The Warner Bros. Discovery CEO probably expected Netflix to jump on a second outing for The Sandman in the first few days. However, unhappiness with how deals are carried out is nothing new in the entertainment industry. Before the merger, the studio faced backlash after it tried to implement a controversial new payment model.

Led by its current Chief Financial Officer, Gunnar Wiedenfels the arrangement would have required producers to finance projects themselves and acquire loans to cover production costs. Payment would only be received upon delivery of the completed project. Meanwhile, asked for comment by Deadline and other media outlets, Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment on their problems with Netflix. Hopefully, all the involved parties can come to an understanding before any shows are pulled from the platform.