LONDON - U.K. pay TV BSkyB has struck a new multi-year licensing agreement with NBCUniversal for the TV rights in the U.K. and Ireland to current, upcoming and library feature films, securing exclusive access to new releases for about a year until they become available on other subscription services, including Netflix and Amazon.com's LoveFilm.
In a separate deal, BSkyB has also extended the availability of Universal Networks International’s TV channels on its pay TV subscription service. The company didn't disclose financial terms of the agreements.
The movie deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution will further strengthen BSkyB and its Sky Movies service, giving it a window of exclusive access to Universal films in an arrangement similar to a recent deal with Warner Bros.
Netflix is believed to also have been in the hunt for the film deal as its management team has vowed to look at content opportunities internationally, including in the U.K. and Ireland where it launched at the start of the year, just like in the U.S. Netflix has also vowed to win at least one big film output deal with a major Hollywood studio for the U.K.
All movies covered by the new BSkyB arrangement will be available to BSkyB customers on-demand, on mobile service Sky Go, recently launched online-only service Now TV and where available in HD and 3D.
Under the terms of the licensing pact, Sky Movies customers will get access to Universal films in an exclusive subscription window after they end their U.K. theatrical runs, allowing it to be the first subscription service in the U.K. and Ireland to show such films as Ted, Snow White & the Huntsman, Battleship, The Bourne Legacy, ParaNorman and Savages. Upcoming movies covered by the deal include Anna Karenina, Les Miserables, Despicable Me 2 and About Time.
NBCUniversal libraries titles covered by the pact include Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, the American Pie franchise, Gladiator and Scarface.
The TV content licensing deal covers such shows and channels as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Cold Case on the Universal Channel, Keeping up with the Kardashians and Chelsea Lately on E! Entertainment Television, Warehouse 13 and Haven on Syfy, as well as the Style Network and Movies 24 channels.
"The combination of NBCU’s hit movies with Sky’s innovation will give customers an unrivalled in-home movies experience," said Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies. "Whether it’s The Bourne Legacy on demand, Despicable Me in 3D or Ted on the go, Sky Movies customers will enjoy the biggest and best selection of movies on their terms - and at least a year ahead of any other subscription service."
Said Belinda Menendez, president, NBCUniversal International Television Distribution and Universal Networks International: "We are very proud of the NBCUniversal portfolio of titles and channels represented by these two separate agreements. Sky customers will now have access to hit films such as Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Legacy and Ted in addition to a broad range of high-caliber programming on our bouquet of branded channels.”