HBO renews deal with Universal Pictures

McClatchy News Service

NEW YORK — HBO has renewed an accord with Universal Pictures through the coming decade in an effort to maintain HBO’s standing as a premiere cable channel, according to The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets.

The deal unveiled Sunday and signed well ahead of a 2016 expiration date will have Time Warner Inc.’s HBO keeping rights to show films from Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, until 2021 or 2022.

HBO already has similar accords with two other major studios, News Corp.’s 20th Century Fox, and Time Warner’s own Warner Brothers. It also has a pact with Lionsgate Entertainment Corp.’s Summit Entertainment.

Cable-channel services like HBO and Liberty Media Corp.’s Starz have long counted on studio partnerships to maintain a consistent stream of Hollywood films. However, the worth of the deals have been seen as diminished in recent years as DVDs and the expansion of video-on-demand services has curbed consumer demand for premium channels.