After months of contentious drama in which major streaming platforms have been engaged in a heated arms race to acquire the rights to various popular films and TV shows, it looks like things are finally starting to cool down a little: Netflix just announced that they’re trading The West Wing to Hulu for a bag of flour.
Huh. Okay, then. Guess we’re taking things down a few notches now.
Netflix announced the underwhelming transaction in a press release earlier today, confirming that they’d accepted a five-pound bag of Gold Medal All Purpose Flour in exchange for the permanent rights to The West Wing in a move that clearly signals a pivot away from the cutthroat scramble to snatch up as many hot film and TV properties as possible. It marks a surprising shift in strategy for the typically aggressive streaming giant, which shrugged off the significance of the lopsided transaction by saying, “Hulu’s got some good stuff, we’ve got some good stuff, but honestly, no matter who has what, at the end of the day it all pretty much balances out.”
When reached for comment, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings doubled down on the company’s new carefree outlook, admitting that it “probably wasn’t a wise business decision” to swap streaming rights worth upwards of $100 million for a $2 bag of flour you can buy at a gas station, but also adding that, “Hey, at least we’ve got some flour now, so that’s cool in its own way.” Hulu mirrored Netflix’s easygoing attitude, stating, “We repeatedly told Netflix they could just have the bag of flour for free because we had two of them and only needed one, but they insisted we take The West Wing in return. We’re pleased by this amicable new approach to rights acquisition and will do our part to reciprocate it moving forward, whether that means kicking some Marvel properties to Netflix in exchange for help raking leaves or something, or maybe even waiving our exclusivity on Seinfeld so littler guys like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue can get some play. Honestly, the world is burning and none of this stuff even matters, so we might as well spread some good karma while we can.”
Wow. What a startling about-face for an industry that up until now was so fiercely competitive.
Whether this chill new attitude towards the streaming wars will help or hurt these platforms is still unclear, but either way it’s nice to get a break from all the contentiousness. Here’s hoping that Netflix’s West-Wing-for-flour play works out for them in the long run and inspires a new era of harmony throughout the entertainment industry.