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NBCUniversal Considers Pulling Movies From HBO Max, Netflix

The move, if carried out, is expected to bring more content back to Peacock.


Comcast's NBCUniversal is reportedly weighing pulling its own movies from non-Peacock streaming services and bringing them home to its own platform, according to Bloomberg. Such a move would likely also bring with it a guarantee that future film releases from the company would be on Peacock either exclusively or for an initial window of exclusivity.

According to unnamed sources, NBCUniversal hasn't yet made a final decision, and senior executives there "are open to new deals with third parties like HBO Max and Netflix," in deals that would be expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year. As Bloomberg correctly points out, this strategy indicates a fair bit about Peacock's thinking moving forward and also its assessment of its success so far since launching last July. While the nearly year-old service has amassed roughly 33 million accounts, it's also yet to make original programming as big of a budget priority as some rivals. However, Peacock has invested in and also planted flags with WWE content and streaming PPV events, and it will also have the Olympics streaming as well.

Of course, the pandemic has been a huge unpredictable wrench in whatever plans NBCUniversal may have had for Peacock. Back in December, Warner Bros. made a bold move to potentially change movie-going as we know it when it suddenly announced it would put its entire theatrical line-up onto streaming in 2021--a first move that's set into motion many dominoes finding many major players in the space both rethinking and doubling down on betting which way streaming's future might go. As of this writing, a top Netflix executive said they think exclusive theatrical windows will go away; Warner Bros., intriguingly, still thinks they're important.

While The Office's return to Peacock was met with much fanfare--and a reboot may happen, as well--something that's been noticeably absent from discussion of Peacock is its original content. Peacock ended its first year in the business very much in the red with a $914 million loss in 2020, and reclaiming its other content may demonstrate a lack of understanding that as streaming services increasingly snatch up the expiring rights to the same movies and TV shows, an expectation of the strategy with all platforms to be worth paying to be a member is their ability to cultivate a healthy ecosystem of original content.

David Wolinsky on Google+

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