NBCUniversal is mulling whether to remove its films from HBO Max and Netflix and put new movies on its own streaming service, Peacock, according to Bloomberg.
Right now, HBO Max has a deal to show Universal Pictures movies about nine months after their theatrical run, and Netflix has a similar one to let it show movies from Illumination Entertainment, according to Bloomberg. Both of those deals will currently expire at the end of the year, Bloomberg says.
However, Comcast-owned NBCUniversal reportedly hasn’t made a decision about if it should pull the movies just yet. Execs are also “open” to making new licensing deals with companies, which could mean the films stay where they are or end up somewhere else that’s not Peacock, HBO Max, or Netflix.
(Disclosure: Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, is also an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.)
The fact that NBCUniversal is even considering the move adds to an already extremely confusing streaming landscape, where it’s often a crapshoot if you’ll find a movie on the streaming service you’d expect.
On the one hand, NBCUniversal bringing its own movies (which include huge franchises like Fast & Furious and How to Train Your Dragon) to its streaming service would lead to a certain amount of corporate synergy and would boost the value of Peacock to retain or attract new subscribers. On the other, licensing deals are lucrative, and the company has to weigh that revenue against what it might make from Peacock in the long term.
NBCUniversal has shown some willingness to silo popular content to Peacock. It moved The Office, one of the most-watched shows on any streaming service, from Netflix to Peacock at the beginning of this year. It’s not clear how successful that strategy has been, however, and based on today’s Bloomberg report, we still don’t know if NBCUniversal is willing to make a similar move for some of its biggest film franchises.