New Universal Films Will Stream Exclusively On Peacock After Theater Runs

Starting in 2022, most new Universal movies will stream exclusively on Peacock as soon as 45 days after debuting in cinemas, NBCUniversal announced.

The new windowing strategy aims to help drive new subscribers and users for the still relatively new streaming service, as well as minimize churn.

Peacock hit 20 million monthly subscribers as of Q2, and is ahead of internal projections and on track to hit its goal of 30 to 35 million subscribers by its projected breakeven year, 2024, according to NBCU.

But the service is currently losing more than $8 on each of its monthly active users, and “far away” from meeting the $7 to $8 average monthly user revenue needed for breakeven, according to a recent analysis by LightShed Partners media analyst Richard Greenfield — who believes that NBCU will have to make “dramatically” larger investments in original content in order to break into the top four services.

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Greenfield also argued that Peacock would be “far more successful” if Comcast opted to release all Universal movies on Peacock simultaneously with theaters (day-and-date release), rather than just shorten the theatrical window before films are accessible on the streaming service.

But NBCU made no mention, at least for now, of day-and-date plans for some films.

“Prioritizing the theatrical experience” and “eventizing” Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s (UFEG) content “remains the cornerstone of our business,” stated Peter Levinsohn, vice chairan and chief distribution officer for UFEG. “By ensuring our upcoming slate has both a theatrical window and timely Peacock debut, we satisfy the needs and expectations for key stakeholders across the spectrum, from our filmmakers and producing partners, to cinemagoers and Peacock subscribers.”

“As we continue investing in the most valued and sought-after content for Peacock, films are essential to that mix,” said Peacock President Kelly Campbell. “The team at Universal Filmed Entertainment Group are fantastic partners and we are excited to bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock as early as 45 days after their theatrical release, and provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year.”

UFEG’s 2022 lineup includes “The 355,” a spy thriller with Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, Diane Kruger and Lupita Nyong’o; “Ticket To Paradise,” with George Clooney and Julia Roberts; “The Black Phone,” with Ethan Hawke, and “Marry Me,” with Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson.

New DreamWorks Animation movies will include The Bad Guys; “Downton Abbey: A New Era from Focus Features”, “Ambulance,” “The Bad Guys” and “Halloween Ends” (billed as the last flick in that seemingly endless franchise).

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