A contract dispute has led to the Netflix over the top (OTT) online video service being forced to pull content from the Starz division of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Strarz has monitored contractual arrangements very strongly of late and in May 2011 it joined the Walt Disney Co. in suing DISH Network for allegedly violating their distribution terms.

In this latest spat, Pauline Fischer, VP of Content Acquisition for Netflix described the pulling of content as the result of a temporary contract issue. Yet speculation is rife in the US that the recent huge subscriber growth of Netflix triggered a clause in the original contract and that Sony will reappear once a new contract offering more revenues to Sony has been signed.

Attempting to play down the spat she said in a statement to customers : “You may have noticed that Sony movies through StarzPlay are not currently available to watch instantly... while these two valued partners work through their differences, we hope you are enjoying the wide variety of new movies and TV shows added daily. “

Indeed Fischer pointed that Netflix would be adding more recent movies to its OTT content roster including The Fighter, Skyline and Iron Man 2 as well as the first four seasons of Mad Men.