Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and sister streaming service Peacock are joining forces in a major way, the two companies announced on Tuesday.
Starting in 2022, all films in the Universal Empire will release Peacock no later than four months after their theatrical release. This speeds up what is traditionally referred to as the one-time payment home entertainment window, which – in pre-pandemic times – didn’t kick off for six to seven months.
Universal and Peacock aren’t the only ones tying their arms around, as other majors – such as WarnerMedia, Disney, and Paramount – are also making their main movie titles available from the start of their respective streaming services.
However, Universal is going one step further by deciding to split the 18th month single payment window in order to license its content on various platforms. For the first and final four months, the films will air exclusively on Peacock; during the intervening 10 months, they will be made available to other partners who have not yet been disclosed. HBO – which is currently Universal’s pay-one partner – would not be among them.
UFEG Vice-President Peter Levinsohn said the dynamic new Single Payment Agreement demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to building a film ecosystem that enables filmmakers and artists to reach the widest audience. possible, celebrates and enhances the theatrical experience and, above all, empowers fans. to discover the films they love in their own way.
Levinsohn added, “We are excited to become Peacock’s first one-time payment partner, as the platform continues to curate and build an extensive library of films that will delight its rapidly growing subscriber base.
Separately, Tuesday’s announcement formalized an agreement that Universal’s production team will develop and produce a selection of original films exclusively for Peacock. No specific title has been announced, but they are expected to start debuting on the streamer in 2022.
Universal’s 2022 theatrical release schedule includes Jurassic World: Dominion; a new original film by Jordan Peele; DreamWorks Animation ” The villains and The puss in boots: the last wish; and lighting Minions: The Rise of Gru, among many other offers.
The one-time payment license agreement between Peacock and UFEG includes titles from Universal proper, the specialist label Focus Features, Illumination and DWA.
“Since launching Peacock just over a year ago, we’ve seen an incredible number of movie viewers and continue to expand our catalog with a lineup of movies for every fan and occasion,” said Matt Strauss, President , Direct-to-Consumer and International, NBCUniversal.
“Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has been a fantastic partner and we’re excited to not only bring their incredible roster of blockbuster movies and beloved franchises to Peacock in the first payment window, but also to provide a constant stream of new ones. original films exclusively for Peacock clients throughout the year, ”Strauss continued.
Peacock has struggled since launching a year ago to compete with streaming heavyweights like Netflix and Disney +. NBCU parent company Comcast revealed in April that it expects losses of $ 2 billion in 2020 and 2021 as it invests in the streaming service. Although Peacock hit 42 million signups in April, less than 10 million paid for a Peacock subscription, which starts at $ 4.99 per month for an ad-supported subscription, The Wall Street Journal reported June 23. (Netflix and Disney + have approximately 208 million and 103.6 million subscribers worldwide, respectively.)
The streamer also missed an early boost due to the delay in the Tokyo Olympics, which NBCUniversal expected to use to promote Peacock shortly after launch. But those plans will come to fruition this summer now that Peacock owns NBC’s live-streaming rights to the popular Olympics, meaning die-hard gymnastics, track and field and men’s basketball fans will have to use Peacock if they are. wish to broadcast the events live.
Universal and parent company NBCU were pioneers in terms of the cinema and home entertainment windows collapse. At the start of the pandemic, as theaters were forced to shut down, Universal struck a deal with major operators that created a new premium VOD window that begins between 30 days and 45 days after a movie opens in stores. cinemas. (Speeding up the one-time payment window does not require an agreement with exhibitors.)
Warner Bros. took it a step further by announcing that its entire 2021 roster would debut overnight in theaters and on HBO Max. As the box office pickup continues, Disney has chosen to make some titles available immediately on Disney + Premier Access for an additional $ 30. This includes upcoming Marvel Black Widow.
Like Universal, Paramount and Sony mostly rely on some sort of exclusive theatrical release before they send a movie home.
J. Clara Chan contributed reporting.