Much-loved TV show Arrested Development is to release new episodes of the sitcom exclusively via Netflix in early 2013.

The online TV and film streaming service has signed a deal with Fox and Imagine Television that will see episodes developed especially for subscribers in the US.

Netflix, which will cover some of the production costs itself, confirmed the deal on Twitter this Saturday.

The show’s creator, Mitchell Hurwitz, hinted at an event last month that the long-awaited Arrested Development film was still in progress – and that a ‘preamble’ series of ten episodes were also being developed to focus on one character per episode.

This is a huge coup for Netflix amid a bidding war with Hulu and Showtime, and is the latest in a number of deals it has signed with studios. These include Lionsgate and Miramax in the run-up to the UK launch in early 2012, as well as another exclusive with Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, plus David Fincher’s House of Cards project that stars Kevin Spacey.

The company, which has roughly 24 million subscribers in the US, has lost some of its users recently following a price increase – and will face stiff competition from LoveFilm when it comes to the UK. But this focus on unique content is a real differentiator, as has always been Netflix’s goal.

It is taking the lessons that have been tried and tested by traditional networks, and is combining them with new consumer consumption behaviours. While Tom Foremski’s idea that every company is a media company becomes more of a reality every day, Netflix is most certainly embodying this idea within its sector.