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Universal, Amazon strike streaming deal to start in 2022

Jurassic World: Dominion
"Jurassic World: Dominion" (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Universal has mapped out the future of its streaming strategy this week. After announcing that it will have all of its films first stream exclusively on Peacock, Universal has now tapped Amazon and its streaming channels — Prime Video and IMDb TV — for a multi-year licensing deal for its films that starts in 2022.

Here’s how all of this breaks down. Starting in 2022, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group’s full slate of live-action and animated movies will first become available on the Peacock streaming service (both UFEG and Peacock are owned by parent company NBCUniversal). Then, four months after hitting Peacock, all live-action and animated titles from UFEG will arrive on Amazon Prime Video.

This deal will give Prime Video the right to stream Jurassic World: Dominion, The 355, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and more of Universal’s 2022 slate of films. In addition, the deal covers Universal’s library of titles as well, which means the Jurassic Park franchise, the Bourne franchise, the Fast & Furious franchise, Get Out and more will be available to Prime Video subscribers.

Meanwhile IMDb TV, which is a free, ad-supported AVOD streaming service, will be able to stream films from UFEG’s slate of 2020-2021 lineup, including The Invisible Man, F9 and Sing 2. It will also have access to titles from UFEG’s animation library, like Despicable Me 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Shrek 2.

“We’re thrilled to team up with Amazon to deliver our titles to its customers,” said Peter Levinsohn, vice chairman and chief distribution officer for UFEG. “This agreement further delivers on our distribution strategy to monetize our unparalleled movie library across multiple services, while offering customers the most choice, control and flexibility in how, when and where they watch films.”

Prior to this deal, HBO and HBO Max were given first crack at most Universal titles after their theatrical releases.

These deals come as studios and streaming services attempt to figure out how best to navigate theatrical and streaming strategies in a post-pandemic world. Universal’s announcement earlier in the week said that films will head to Peacock sometime within four months of an exclusive theatrical release, bringing it within the family like Warner Bros., Paramount Plus and Disney are doing with HBO Max, Paramount Plus and Disney Plus, respectively.

The Peacock streaming service offers three different packages for people to watch, including a free, ad-supported version, a $4.99 version and a $9.99 version. Each version offers more content, but it is not clear as of yet if the new Universal film titles will only be available with a specific package.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.