Netflix gets rights to stream AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? Netflix is adding the Emmy-nominated television series “The Walking Dead” to its Internet video library as part of its latest licensing agreement with AMC Networks Inc.

The exclusive deal announced Friday comes less than three months after Netflix began streaming the past episodes of two other critically acclaimed AMC series, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.”

Netflix said its roughly 25 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada should be able to begin watching the first season of “The Walking Dead” at some point Friday. The series still wasn’t available early Friday afternoon (PDT) when The Associated Press searched Netflix’s Internet video library.

Additional seasons of “The Walking Dead” and other shows on AMC and the Sundance Channel also will be fed to Netflix under the multiyear licensing agreement. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia estimated that Netflix may be paying AMC Networks more than $35 million for the rights.

Netflix Inc. is trying to expand its Internet video selections to counter criticism that its streaming library doesn’t contain enough compelling content. The complaints could escalate early next year when Netflix loses the rights to stream recent releases from Walt Disney Co. under a deal that it signed with Starz Entertainment in early February.

A customer backlash to recent changes in Netflix’s service is giving the company bigger headaches. Netflix has lost hundreds of thousands of U.S. subscribers after raising its prices by as much as 60 percent and announcing plans to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental service into a separate website called Qwikster. Those moves have rattled investors too, causing Netflix’s stock to plunge by about 60 percent since it announced the higher prices in mid-July.

Shares of the Los Gatos, Calif., company fell $6.03, or 4.9 percent, to close at $117.21.