Peter Kafka

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HBO Hangs On to Universal’s Movies

ted movieHBO has renewed a pact with Universal Pictures, which will keep the studio’s movies, like “Ted” and “Bourne Legacy” on the pay-cable channel through 2022.

HBO, which normally plays up the value of its original productions like “Game of Thrones,” says that 84 percent of its conventional TV viewing* comes from movies.

The deal, which many observers had expected, was done well in advance of a 2016 expiration date. It’s relevant primarily because it means that the movies won’t end up on digital subscription services like Netflix or Amazon.

There had been industry chatter about Universal owner Comcast taking the movies in-house to create its own Netflix-like service, or to fold it into its existing Streampix offering, but that won’t happen, either.

The next big question for movie-distribution observers is the status of Sony’s deal with Starz. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, among others, thinks Netflix will end up with that one, too.

We’ll have HBO President and COO Eric Kessler onstage at D: Dive into Media next month.

*That is, the stuff that people watch when HBO airs it, as opposed to on-demand plays and views via its HBO Go service.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work