In the latest move to shake up traditional release patterns, Universal has signed a licensing deal that will make its films available exclusively on sister streaming service Peacock no more than four months after their theatrical debuts.
The studio will also start developing and producing original films to premiere exclusively on Peacock, which was launched by parent NBCUniversal just over a year ago.
Beginning with the 2022 theatrical slate, titles from Universal, Focus Features, Illumination and DreamWorks Animation – among them Jurassic World: Dominion, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Minions: The Rise of Gru - will appear on Peacock during an accelerated ‘pay-one’ window.
The window will be broken into three segments, with the films being available exclusively to Peacock for the first four months and the last four months. Universal said it would be announcing an “additional distribution partner” which will get the films for the middle ten months.
The pay-one window, which traditionally began no less than six months after theatrical release, is when films become available to premium cable networks and subscription streaming services. Universal titles currently go to HBO during the window under a deal that expires at the end of this year.
Splitting the window between Peacock and another platform will allow Universal to boost the profile of its sister streamer and earn revenue from an outside licensing partner.
Universal has been among the studios developing new release patterns while the pandemic kept most cinemas around the world closed. Nearly a year ago it came to an agreement with exhibitor AMC to collapse the theatrical window and share premium VoD revenue.
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) vice chairman and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn said: “This new dynamic pay-one 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. We’re excited to become Peacock’s first pay-one partner while the platform continues to curate and build a vast film library that will delight its rapidly growing subscriber base.”
NBCUniversal direct-to-consumer and international chairman Matt Strauss added: “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. 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.”