July 30, 2020
Universal Pictures’ landmark distribution agreement with the nation’s largest exhibitor AMC Theatres, enabling it to sell and rent digital access to new-release movies in the home entertainment market just 17 days after their box office, debut taps into a largely unserved consumer, according to NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell.
Speaking July 30 on the Comcast fiscal call, Shell thanked AMC CEO Adam Aron for “his vision” in working together — rather than against — Universal to create new business model and revenue opportunities for both companies.
“We’ve always believed PVOD can be a complement rather than a replacement for a robust theatrical release,” Shell said, adding that the studio has always believed there’s a growing segment of the population that does not go to the movie theater.
“Over the last couple of years, it’s become more increasingly difficult to generate the same returns over the first couple of windows,” he said. “We believe the new model in the U.S. will restore some of those economics, probably not make more movies, but keep production levels the same as in the past.”
Shell said the advantage to the shortened 17-day box office is that PVOD and transactional VOD marketing can be done in the same window.
“It allows us to tap into that incremental [transactional VOD] revenue stream, share it with AMC and other exhibitors, and at the same time preserve that theatrical window that is so critical to the film business,” he said.