This week, Universal announced two major moves in its plans for streaming distribution.
On Monday, Universal and Peacock announced an agreement to begin in 2022 that the streaming service would be the exclusive home for Universal titles for the first four months of their on-line availability. Peacock is the in-house streaming service owned by Universal’s corporate parent Comcast. Universal will continue to offer theatres an exclusive theatrical run for many of its premiere movies prior to making them available on-line. After the four-month Peacock excusive, Universal will make its movies available to play on other streaming services for a 10-month period, before reverting to Peacock exclusive availability for another four months.
On Thursday, Universal announced an agreement with Amazon under which Universal titles would play on Amazon Prime and IMDb TV services during the 10-month window after their initial 4-month run on Peacock. The move is significant both for Peacock and Amazon. Peacock is still trying to find its footing in the hyper competitive, big-stakes streaming marketplace. Peacock has 42 million subscribers but fewer than 10 million actually pay for the service. For Amazon, this is their first “pay-one” deal with a major studio – they do have existing deals with smaller distributors such as A24 – as they continue to invest to acquire content in order to compete with Netflix and Disney.