Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Comcast's Universal Pictures to Offer New Releases Via Streaming

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 17, 2020 at 9:23AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

With movie theaters shutting down, this move just makes sense.

Traditionally, movie theaters get a 90-day exclusive window on new releases. That means films play in theaters for that period before they can go to pay television, streaming, or any other service.

That arrangement no longer makes sense, given that theaters are closing due to efforts to contain the coronavirus. Because of those closings and the fact that the box office numbers were dismal last week, Comcast (CMCSA 0.00%) has decided to make new releases from its Universal Pictures studio available via streaming while they still play in theaters.

A person holds a cable remote.

Universal will offer its latest films via streaming. Image source: Getty Images.

What is Universal doing?

The movie studio has decided to make three recent releases, The Hunt, Invisible Man, and Emma, available Friday for $19.99 for 48 hours on "a wide variety of on-demand services, including its parent company Comcast's cable networks," reported The Los Angeles Daily News.

In addition, Universal will also make its next release, Dreamworks cartoon Trolls World Tour, available on demand in conjunction with its Easter weekend theatrical release.

"Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable," NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a press release. "We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible."

Is this the right move?

People won't, and in many cases can't, go to theaters until the current outbreak passes. Offering first-run movies on demand makes sense. It's good for consumers who need things to do while stuck at home and it may help Universal salvage at least some of its investment in these films.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
$39.83 (0.00%) $0.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/07/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.