According to a just-released Bloomberg report, Comcast is planning to orchestrate some major changes in the way it makes films available to its Peacock streaming service. The media giant allegedly wants to remove NBCUniversal films from Netflix, HBOMax and similar platforms to keep them in the Peacock feather nest instead of providing access to other birds of prey.
Although a final decision has not yet been made, it’s being reported that NBCUniversal remains open to negotiating new licensing arrangements, so it’s still uncertain just how the feathers will fly. As Julia Alexander wrote in a posting for ign.com on 31 March, “For NBCUniversal, the bigger question is whether or not executives think having those exclusive films on its Peacock streaming service will lead to enough customers signing up that losing out on those licensing deals is worth the risk.”
Industry observers point to the fact that the streamosphere has been heating up fast and furiously—and there’s more than global warming to blame. Comcast reported in January that the Peacock had more than 33 million subscribers, according to its most recent fourth-quarter figures. As of today, HBO Max is permitted to show Universal’s flicks nine months or so after their theatrical screenings, but the deal is scheduled to expire at the end of 2021.
Time will tell whether this new strategy will lay an egg for NBCUniversal—or maybe a golden one.