HBO signs with Universal Films, blocking Netflix streaming


HBOTime Warner’s HBO has re-upped with Comcast’s Universal Pictures to be the exclusive pay-TV provider of the studio’s movies for another decade. Since this is an exclusive deal, Universal movies won’t be able to be streamed on Netflix or other competitors.

HBO and Universal have had an agreement in place since 2003. The deal includes movies produced by Universal and its specialty films unit, Focus Features, reported The AP.

Current films from the studio include “This is 40” and “Les Miserables.” It is also responsible for classics like “E.T.”, “Jaws” and “Scarface.”

“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,” Rick Finkelstein, vice chairman and COO of Universal Pictures, said in a statement.

The deal is key for HBO, which faces a threat from streaming movie providers like Netflix. Since it is an exclusive agreement, Universal movies won’t be able to be streamed on Netflix or other competitors until 2022 at the earliest. Last month, Netflix signed with Disney to start steaming its movies in 2016.

HBO also has exclusive agreements with 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers,  also part of Time Warner.

See the AP story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Netflix offers unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV shows for the monthly price of $8—a value no company can currently beat. The worry for Time Warner Cable and other MSOs is Netflix could force them to lower their fees due to the threat of more (much more) cord-cutting for Netflix. Netflix knows that its success relies on if it can score enough of what subscribers want to watch. The Universal deal with HBO is a setback.