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HBO, Universal Renew Pay-TV Deal

6 Jan, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The contract extension effectively denies Netflix streaming access to Universal Pictures’ and Focus Features’ films into the next decade

Universal Pictures Jan. 6 said it renewed a domestic output deal with Home Box Office agreeing to a long-term extension with the subscription pay-TV service into the next decade.

The deal extends a current distribution agreement (ending 2015) giving HBO subscriber’s access to movies from Universal and Focus Features during the pay-TV window. The new agreement effectively keeps Netflix from acquiring rights to the titles for its subscription video-on-demand service.

Despite its renowned original programming such as "Game of Thrones," "True Blood" and "Boardwalk Empire," 84% of HBO's viewers reportedly opt for theatrical releases.

Netflix COO Ted Sarandos has stated publicly the SVOD pioneer is interested in securing those studio movie rights in the pay-TV window when the HBO contracts expired. Universal movies are available on Netflix on disc.

“With HBO’s far-reaching network of premium services, ranging from the traditional in-home experience to its mobile applications, we are pleased to continue this relationship and bring Universal and Focus Features’ films to HBO subscribers for many years to come,” Rick Finkelstein, vice chairman and COO of Universal Pictures, said in a statement. “With our upcoming slate of films, HBO will continue to offer outstanding film content to their already vast library of movies, specials and award-winning original programming.”

HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, last summer re-upped a pay-TV distribution deal with 20th Century Fox reportedly worth $200 million annually and set to expire in 2022.


About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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