Universal to Move Pay 1 Movies to Peacock From HBO

Universal Pictures July 6 disclosed it will begin distributing feature films through NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, instead of HBO, in the Pay 1 window beginning in 2022.

The move, which impacts Universal franchises such as “Jurassic World,” “Fast and Furious” and “Despicable Me,” is aimed at bolstering Peacock sign-ups in addition to offering third-party distributors non-exclusive access. Specifically, Peacock will have exclusive access for the first four months and last four months of the 18-month Pay 1 window. Select third-party streamers and/or streaming service will have access to the movies during the middle 10-month period.

The unconventional pay-one structure mimics Universal’s new distribution deals with theaters that enables it to offer theatrical titles into the premium VOD window just 17 days after their box office debut depending on ticket sales.

“Since launching Peacock just one year ago, we have seen incredible viewership of movies and continue to expand our catalog with a range of films for every fan and occasion,” Matt Strauss, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has been a fantastic partner and we are excited to not only bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock in the first-pay window, but also provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year.”

By showcasing content across multiple platforms throughout the Pay 1 window, Universal says the titles will constantly refresh across the streaming ecosystem ensuring no title or platform is oversaturated.

This approach allows multiple audiences across a variety of streaming services to experience Universal’s award-winning and critically acclaimed film slate, according to Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer of UFEG.

“This new dynamic Pay 1 agreement demonstrates UFEG’s continued commitment to building a film ecosystem that allows filmmakers and artists to reach the broadest possible audience, celebrates and strengthens the theatrical experience, and, above all, empowers fans to experience the films they love on their own terms,” Levinsohn said.