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The distribution of content has been changing in leaps and bounds in the last few years. It wasn't that long ago that the only way to watch your favorite movies or TV whenever you wanted was to own them on DVD. Then came streaming options like Netflix and Hulu, and the success of those platforms opened the eyes of all the major studios. Now they all either have, or are working on, their own platforms so that they can host their own content. However, it doesn't always work out that easily. Case in point, The Harry Potter movies which were made by Warner Bros., are jumping ship from HBO Max to Comcast's Peacock streaming service.
It was recently confirmed that all eight Harry Potter films would be on their way off of HBO Max, where they currently reside, at the end of August. This was due to a previous agreement that NBCUniversal had made to acquire the rights to the franchise. For this reason, it was thought that we might end up seeing the Harry Potter films on the new Peacock streaming service, and now that has been confirmed by Universal.
All eight movies will arrive on Peacock in October. However, things get a little strange from there as Universal says the films will be "available to stream in windows over the next six months starting later this year and into 2021." It seems that the movies will only be on Peacock for a month, then they'll leave as the movies begin to be shown on NBCUniversal's various broadcast and cable channels. Then the films will return to Peacock at some point in 2021.
It shows just how quickly the content game has changed for all the major media companies. Licensing out major titles to broadcast, cable, and other streaming platforms has been a major source of revenue for all involved, and so deals have been made that will last for years that give the rights to something like Harry Potter to a competitor. If WarnerMedia had known years ago that things were going to go this way it never would have made that deal, as the Harry Potter films have been a boon to HBO Max since it launched. We weren't even expecting the franchise to be on that service at launch, so it was a big deal when it happened, but now the honeymoon is over.
And even on the NBCUniversal side, the situation is not optimum as this deal was made back in 2016, and so that company wasn't contemplating streaming at that point either. Universal would probably prefer to put the HP movies on Peacock for a much longer period of time as a way to help promote its new streaming service.
NBCUniversal's deal for Harry Potter reportedly lasts until 2025, so it could truly be years before the rights to the films are truly settled, though it's possible the deal allows for the movies to return to HBO Max before then. We'll just have to wait and see.