Jul 6, 2021 - Economy

Universal films moving to Peacock 4 months after theatrical releases

Photo by Universal/Getty Images

The Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) said Tuesday that beginning next year, all of its film content will become available to fans exclusively on Peacock, the streaming service owned by its parent company Comcast, within four months of debuting in theaters.

Why it matters: The deal will likely help Comcast lure streaming subscribers to Peacock.

  • UFEG is home to several film studios, including Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Illumination and DreamWorks Animation.

How it works: Beginning next year, Peacock will have the rights to the "Pay 1" theatrical window — the window of time in which films are made available to certain cable channels and streaming companies.

  • The pandemic's streaming craze has pushed studios to experiment with shortening the window of exclusivity it gives to theaters.
  • The new reimagined "Pay 1" window will last 18 months, the studio said.
  • Peacock will get exclusive access to all Universal films for the first and last four months of the window. The studio will license its films to other streamers and distributors for the 10 months in between.
  • Under the deal, Peacock will also have the exclusive rights to produce and develop exclusive original content around Universal's intellectual property (IP).

Be smart: The deal will also make Peacock the official home to Universal's vast library of content, which includes popular franchises like "Fast and Furious" and "Jurassic Park."

  • It will bring Universal's 2022 film slate, which includes "Jurassic World: Dominion" and "Minions: The Rise of Gru," to Peacock subscribers first next year.

The big picture: Universal and Peacock were late to link up compared to their streaming and studio rivals.

  • Prior to this deal, Peacock rival HBO Max had the exclusive rights to stream Universal films within the "Pay 1" window.
  • Other studios, like Disney and Warner Bros., established deals to bring their movies to their own streaming services Disney+ and HBO Max, within the Pay 1 window.
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