The last couple years have seen the introduction of new streaming competitors like HBO Max, Peacock and Paramount+, and the streaming wars are heating up as each of them try to create a library of movies and TV shows that will entice viewers to subscribe. Each of those new services fall under parent companies who also own movie studios, but only one of them hasn’t yet taken full advantage of that relationship.
Even though Peacock falls under the Comcast banner that includes Universal Pictures, the NBCUniversal streaming service isn’t exclusively streaming any of the movie studio’s major franchises like Fast and Furious or Jurassic Park. But it sounds like that could change in the near future as NBCUniversal is considering the possibility of making Universal Pictures movies exclusive to Peacock.
Bloomberg has news that NBCUniversal is currently trying to figure out if they want to end licensing deals with the likes of HBO Max and Netflix in order to build the library of movies that are exclusive to Peacock. Right now, HBO Max has a deal that gives them the rights to play Universal Pictures movies nine months after they leave theaters. Meanwhile, Netflix does the same thing with Universal’s animation studio Illumination Entertainment, which includes the Despicable Me and Secret Life of Pets franchises. Both of these deals are up at the end of the year.
A decision hasn’t been made by NBCUniversal yet simply because they’re trying to figure out if it’s more beneficial to make these movies exclusive to Peacock in order to boost their subscription numbers. If franchises like Fast and the Furious, Jurassic Park and
the Dark Universe the Jason Bourne series become exclusive to Peacock, then Universal doesn’t make as much money from selling the licensing rights to other streamers. But there is the possibility of seeing a hybrid approach to these streaming deals.
Last year, Universal was already leaning towards striking new deals to license movies to other streaming services. But the coronavirus pandemic apparently put a hold on those negotiations, hence the potential move to Peacock. One possible outcome could see Peacock sharing the streaming rights to Universal Pictures movies with one of the other streaming services. For example, Peacock shares the streaming rights to the hit series Modern Family with Hulu. Doing the same with some of Universal’s movies would be a way for NBCUniversal and Universal Pictures to have the best of both worlds.
As of now, Peacock is probably on the lower end of the streaming wars right now. Their library of exclusive titles isn’t all that impressive, which is why the price of the subscription tiers is directly linked to how much of The Office you want to be able to watch. But Peacock is in the midst of building a library of original shows, including the the reboot of Saved by the Bell, the upcoming comedy Rutherford Falls, a new series from Knives Out director Rian Johnson, an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards, and much more.
It’s not clear when a decision on Universal’s streaming plans will be made, but we’ll keep you posted.
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