Peacock just got a big boost in content from a new deal that will see Universal Pictures films heading to that streaming service after theaters. As it stands right now, Universal actually licenses its movies to HBO during what’s called a “pay-one window.” You know how pay cable channels like HBO and Epix will “premiere” movies that were in theaters like a year ago? That’s the “pay-one window,” and now Universal is ending its current deal with HBO in favor of one that prioritizes its own streaming service, Peacock.
Starting in 2022, films from Universal, Focus Features, Illumination, and DreamWorks Animation will be available exclusively on Peacock no later than four months after their theatrical debut.
The deal is actually not that straightforward. Traditionally the pay-one window lasts about 18 months. But under this deal with Peacock (which begins in 2022), Universal movies will be on the streaming service exclusively for the first four and final four months of that period.
You ever notice how movies like Back to the Future or The Dark Knight come to Netflix for a few months, then they leave for like two months, then suddenly they’re back and “new to Netflix” again? Well, that’s by design. This is supposed to prevent over-saturation and create a hunger for certain titles.
It’s unclear if these titles will actually leave Peacock for those 10 months or if they’ll just be available elsewhere in addition to streaming on Peacock. Variety reports that the films will be licensed to additional partners that do not have exclusive rights, noting that roughly two streamers or cable networks will have the rights to air Universal films during that 10-month period, with the partners expected to be announced in the coming weeks. That means a movie like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom might be streaming on Peacock and Hulu and airing on FX at the same time.
Overall this is a boon to Peacock, which just launched last July and has thus far only offered a handful of original titles in addition to a revolving door of library titles. That includes the Harry Potter movies, which have come and gone a couple of times, and the original Girls5Eva which was a bona fide hit and is expected to rack up a few Emmy nominations this year.
But for folks looking for library titles on Peacock, this should bolster up the available movies while adding franchises like Jurassic World and Fast and Furious in their entirety, as well as the wildly popular Despicable Me franchise. And the press release was eager to point out that new Universal movies like Jurassic World: Dominion, Minions, and the next film from Jordan Peele will be streaming exclusively on Peacock four months after they hit theaters in 2022.
Last but not least, the press release notes that Universal will also be making original films that will be released directly on Peacock, skipping theaters altogether.
So will this bring more subscribers to Peacock and convince folks to drop one of their other streamers? Time will tell, but this is a pretty big move on Universal’s part.