Universal has extended its domestic output deal with HBO, giving the pay cable network the rights to air the studio’s new releases into the next decade. The deal also covers Focus Features, the specialty label owned by NBCUniversal.
HBO has had the rights to Universal and Focus movies since 2003, and this new deal extends that relationship into 2021. The previous deal had been set to expire in 2016.
Netflix just shook up the pay TV space by securing the rights to Disney’s new releases starting in 2016, but HBO still holds the most cards. The deal cements HBO’s hold on four different studios for years to come — Warner Bros., Fox, Universal and Summit.
As much attention as HBO gets for original shows like “True Blood” and “Game of Thrones,” movies constitute about 70 percent of the network’s schedule and lure about 80 percent of its viewership.
“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.”