While PBS may not offer the sexiest programming, if you are Netflix you can no longer view any content as something that you wouldn’t prefer to offer. Even if this means simply licensing content that other companies have already locked up, a “me-too” license if you will. A week after Amazon Prime signed an agreement with PBS for large parts of their programming, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) has joined them.


PBS has been around for a long time, and while it may not be your cup of tea or something you watch while enjoying a cup of tea; PBS can not be overlooked for the original documentaries and non-fiction programming like “Nova” that they have produced. PBS since well before my youth, has also been producing a staple of children’s programming as well as a wealth of original programming aimed directly at the Anglophile and classical music and arts lover.

Netflix Acquires Kids’ Shows

It’s presumably this understanding that saw Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) acquiring such shows as kids’ shows “Wild Kratts,” “Caillou,” and “Arthur;” documentaries from Ken Burns including “Prohibition” and “Central Park Five;” and past seasons of non-fiction series like “Nova” and “Secrets of the Dead.”

Beginning this fall, Netflix will get all seasons of “The Bletchley Circle,” a British murder mystery that’s scored high with critics. Next year, Netflix gets “Super Why!,” a PBS KIDS preschool series. While these are exclusives for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), the glaring exception from both these lists…”Downton Abbey.”

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has worked out an exclusive license for “Downton Abbey,” and they have no intention of sharing. In fact, they are taking their ball and going home. Netflix users are presently able to view the early seasons of this show but that is coming to an end. Both Hulu and Netflix will be left a little unsettled when this content is stripped from its libraries later this year. In addition to being the only place to be available to screen season three of “Downton Abbey,” Amazon Prime will be the sole streaming site for season 4 and season 5 if it gets produced.

As someone who lives outside of the United States (like most of the world), I/we have never struggled to find “Downton Abbey” outside of these two services. Granted, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) for those in the States will lose a big piece of their content while adding older shows from PBS’ extensive catalog.