7 JUL 2021

UNIVERSAL SHIFTS LICENSING DEAL FROM HBO TO PEACOCK

The licensing deal, intended to strengthen the streaming service, will secure the release of all Universal and Focus films no later than four months after their theatrical release.

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Universal and Peacock unveiled a licensing partnership, set to go into effect next year as the current agreement between the conglomerate and HBO comes to a close. The deal will include bringing all Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s theatrical releases to Peacock exclusively for a four-month window. “Since launching Peacock just one year ago, we have seen incredible viewership of movies and continue to expand our catalog with a range of films for every fan and occasion,” Matt Strauss, Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International at NBCUniversal, said in a statement. 

The agreement, initially hinted in April, will offer an 18-month pay-one window as part of its new strategy. Universal’s catalog will transition to the streaming catalog as the pay-one partner during the first four months of the deal.  Currently, Universal has a deal in place with HBO that gives streaming rights to HBO Max after films leave theaters. 

During the middle 10 months, the titles will be licensed to additional partners, who will not have exclusive rights. Under the deal, Universal, Focus Features, Illumination, and DreamWorks Animation titles will be exclusively available on Peacock following their theatrical debuts. Content will then be licensed to partners, before going back to Peacock exclusively. In addition, original films developed and produced exclusively for Peacock by Universal Pictures will also premiere on the service. “Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has been a fantastic partner and we are excited to not only bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock in the first-pay window but also provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year,” Strauss said. 

The company hopes to limit over-saturation and secure its most important source of revenue with the business strategy change. The spike in new streaming platforms such as Paramount Plus, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and, yes, Peacock, has left new entrants scrambling to lock up high-end content. “This new dynamic Pay-One agreement demonstrates UFEG’s continued commitment to building a film ecosystem that allows filmmakers and artists to reach the broadest possible audience, celebrates and strengthens the theatrical experience, and, above all, empowers fans to experience the films they love on their own terms,”  Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman, and chief distribution officer at UFEG, said. 

Since launching Peacock just one year ago, we have seen incredible viewership of movies and continue to expand our catalog with a range of films for every fan and occasion. ” Matt Strauss Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, NBCUniversal