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January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

With the major studios making it virtually impossible for Netflix to offer new movies to its streaming subscribers after its deal with Starz ends on February 28, the company seems poised for a makeover, increasingly offering original content. Although it launches the first of five planned original series on February 6 — Lilyhammer, starring Steven Van Zandt — no other new program is expected to hit Netflix’s cyberwaves until 2013. While some writers are comparing Netflix’s streaming service with HBO, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has emphasized that every episode of each of the new series will be available to subscribers simultaneously. In an interview with MediaPost, Sarandos said that Lilyhammer is “bigger than experimentation, but it’s definitely learning.” In a separte interview onstage at the NATPE conference in Miami Beach, Sarandos also indicated that Netflix will be focusing on specialty TV fare, noting, “More people watched the first season of Mad Men on Netflix than on AMC.”

Netflix shares soared on the Nasdaq in after-hours trading on Wednesday after the company reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings of $41 million on a whopping 43-percent increase in revenue of $876 million. The company, which was beleaguered by subscriber losses and analysts’ downgrades after it substantially raised fees for its combined streaming and DVD-by-mail service, reportedly gained back 610,000 defectors (some of that number may have been newcomers to the service), who brought its subscriber list to 24.4 million.