By Sarah McBride
PALOS VERDES, Calif (Reuters) - Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings wouldn't be surprised if Netflix had to pay up to $200 million to renew a licensing deal with Liberty Media's Starz network.
Hastings, who was speaking at the D9 conference organized by the blog AllThingsD on Wednesday, was responding to a question regarding the estimated cost to strike a new content agreement with Starz.
The original deal, which is set to expire early next year, was believed to have been struck for around $30 million, according to people familiar with the deal.
"That wouldn't be shocking," Hastings said when asked whether a new deal could cost up to $200 million, a figure that some analysts have predicted.
Netflix and Starz have not reached a deal, Hastings said.
Known for its bright red envelopes that carries DVDs by mail, Netflix has rocketed to one of the most popular streaming video networks in the United States with more than 23 million customers.
Starz has the pay-TV and online distribution rights to two of Hollywood's biggest studios, Walt Disney Co and Sony Corp's Sony Pictures. Netflix struck an agreement around four years ago giving Netflix streaming rights to Starz movies.
To keep up with customer appetite and to attract new ones, Netflix has been aggressively pursuing rights for movies and TV shows like "Mad Men" and "Glee" for its streaming offerings.
"We are paying more for content every time we renew," Hastings said about striking new content agreements. "We view that as a positive."
(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Writing by Jennifer Saba, editing by Dave Zimmerman)