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Netflix retains all rights to The Crown

Netflix Building41-620x413Netflix will retain all rights to upcoming UK drama project The Crown.

This moves the streaming service away from the previous model whereby third-parties sell Netflix originals outside its operating territories, and in second windows.

With previous big-ticket dramas, Netflix worked with distributors. For example, The Crown producer Sony Pictures Television distributes House of Cards, Lionsgate sells Orange is the New Black and Gaumont shops Hemlock Grove internationally.

However, TBI has learned all rights to The Crown are being retained by the streaming company.

The US-listed firm finally confirmed UK royal family drama The Crown yesterday, although the project was first written about back in May in the UK.

The regal drama is being made by UK prodco Left Bank in association with Sony Pictures Television (which also owns Left Bank).

It is not clear whether Netflix will ultimately appoint a distributor or is holding on to all rights as it ramps up international launch plans. One source suggested the latter is more likely.

It has previously lost out on its own originals in some territories because they have already been sold to a third party. For example, House of Cards launched in Germany on Sky Deutschland, while Netflix only has second window rights to its DreamWorks-produced originals in the same territory thanks to latter’s output arrangement with Super RTL.

Another possibility is that as it starts to commission a large number of original shows, Netflix will start selling content itself to further monetise its large-scale investments.

This week Netflix CFO David Wells said that in 2015 the service would keep pace with its current rate of international expansion, which this year saw it move into six new European territories, or even increase the number of launches.

Services in Australia, Spain, Japan and Italy have all been touted as key objectives for Netflix, which currently operates in the US, Canada, Latin America, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria.

Netflix would not comment.