Universal Pictures quits HBO Max for Peacock streaming service

7 Jul 2021

Image: © monticellllo/Stock.adobe.com

In the battle of the streaming services, NBC’s Peacock has secured a deal with Universal Pictures that will allow its films a quicker release.

Universal movies will soon be streamed on Peacock, its parent company’s streaming service.

The US film production and distribution company owned by Comcast through NBC Universal will make the move to Peacock to release its films on a quicker timeline.

Universal movies currently go to AT&T Inc’s HBO TV channel and the HBO Max streaming service six months after they are released in cinemas.

Under the new arrangement with Peacock, which begins in 2022, Universal’s films will appear on Peacock’s streaming service no later than four months after their initial cinema release. Universal Pictures will also begin making films exclusively for Peacock.

The agreement between Universal and Peacock covers what is known by industry professionals as the pay-one window, the time when movies that have left cinemas play on streaming services or TV channels.

Universal and Peacock agreed to carve that window, which usually lasts for a period of 18 months, into three segments. New movies will go to Peacock for the first and last four months of the 18-month period. For the 10-month period in between, Universal will offer the films to other distributors to license.

Universal said that showcasing its titles across multiple platforms throughout the pay-one window would ensure its content refreshes itself consistently across the streaming ecosystem.

The streaming services marketplace, which includes major players such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ is extremely competitive. HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s answer to these only launched last year.

It is expected that HBO Max will expand its availability beyond the US into Latin America and Europe later this year.

Meanwhile, Peacock, which also launched in 2020, will partner with Sky to expand its service internationally. Peacock also has a corporate relationship with WWE and the NFL helping to drive premium subscription.

AT&T-owned Warner Bros studio made the unprecedented move last year to debut all of its 2021 films on the HBO Max streaming service on the same day as their cinema release. The company said the decision was due to the hit the film industry had taken by the pandemic.

Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.