Netflix, HBO Max Could Lose Universal Movies With Hopes to Boost Peacock Subscriptions

As streaming services become more and more a major part of the entertainment landscape, HBO Max and Netflix may soon find themselves losing Universal movies. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Comcast's NBC Universal is considering pulling its films from both streamers and keeping future new film releases for their own streaming service, Peacock. At present, HBO Max pays for the rights to air new Universal Pictures films after they leave theaters and Netflix has a similar deal for animated films from Illumination Entertainment. Both HBO Max and Netflix's deals with NBCUniversal expire this year.

Per the report, those involved in discussions say that NBCUniversal is still considering their options and new deals with third parties aren't off the table, but the company is considering the ramifications of keeping some of their most popular titles, something that if they do choose to move away from HBO Max and Netflix could show a major commitment to Peacock.

Compared to other streaming platforms, Peacock doesn't have quite the same level of investment into original programming. Walt Disney Co. and HBO Max owner AT&T have made original movies and programming a major part of their respective services, and Netflix has also invested deeply into original programming. If NBCUniversal does let their HBO Max and Netflix deals expire in favor of bolstering Peacock, it would mean a major hit to both services as Universal has major franchises such as Fast & Furious and Jurassic World though the report indicated some sort of hybrid deal could be considered that would allow for the films to still bolster Peacock while also bringing in licensing cash.

If the licensing agreements do expire and are not renewed or renegotiated, that doesn't mean streamers like Netflix and HBO Max will be entirely without recent Hollywood films to attract and maintain subscribers. Sony does not currently have its own streaming service and would still potentially be an option for licensed film content.

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