Comcast grabs Universal film rights from HBO for Peacock

(Logo courtesy Comcast Corporation; Graphic by The Desk)

Comcast’s streaming service Peacock will become the exclusive home of current and new films from Universal Pictures starting next year, the company announced on Tuesday.

The deal essentially ends a long-term agreement with AT&T WarnerMedia’s HBO for post-theater releases of Universal films. HBO’s deal with Comcast, the parent company of Universal, took effect in 2005.

Starting in 2022, Peacock will distribute new Universal films about four months after they appear in movie theaters. Those films include titles distributed by Dreamworks Animation, Focus Features and Illumination.

For four months, the films will run exclusively on Peacock, after which they will be licensed to other content partners, which may include HBO down the line.

“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, a Comcast executive in charge of the company’s direct-to-consumer products, told media outlets in a statement. “[Universal] 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.”

Prior to landing on Peacock, the films will be offered via traditional home video releases, including download and rental through digital stores like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.

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