Streaming Companies Court Hollywood Studios

Talks with Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures

Streaming has been altering the way business works in Hollywood for some time, but that trend has been turbocharged by the pandemic. Many movie theaters remain shuttered, and some studios have opted to release their new hits digitally.

Now, streaming services and studios are beginning to discuss the possibility of long-term deals that would have a big impact on the movie industry even after the pandemic subsides. Universal Pictures (CMCSA) and Sony Pictures (SNE) are in talks with streaming services and cable networks about movies that will be released in 2022 and beyond.

Negotiations Unfold

Analysts say that streaming agreements for Sony, the studio behind numerous Spider Man movies, and Universal, the creator of the Fast & Furious franchise, could generate up to $250 million for each studio every year. Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), Hulu (DIS), HBO, and Starz have all said they are interested in the rights to Sony and Universal’s work.

These deals would grant streaming companies permission to offer movies on their platforms nine months after the movies are released in theaters. The streaming services would then have the exclusive rights to the movies for some period of time.

Other Strategies for Staying Competitive

Competition in the streaming sphere is fierce, and production of some movies and shows is on hold because of COVID-19 concerns.

In addition to negotiating with studios, some streaming services are finding ways to leverage their existing content to gain new subscribers. Netflix, for example, just began offering 10 movies and shows for free. The first episodes of Stranger Things and Bird Box, as well as other content, is available on Netflix’s website for anyone to view—even if they don’t have a Netflix account.
In a quickly changing and hyper-competitive industry, both streaming services and studios are being forced to think creatively. Investors will be eager to see how negotiations between these two arms of the movie business unfold.

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