Foxtel strikes NBCUniversal content deal as Stan changes strategy

US movie studio giant NBCUniversal will donate the majority of its programs and films to pay-TV and streaming company Foxtel as its incumbent streaming partner Stan is looking for other ways to acquire content from Hollywood for the subscribers.

Multiple media sources, who spoke anonymously because the talks are confidential, said Foxtel is set to strike a long-term deal for the majority of NBCU’s programming, including content from Sky Studios, the service online streaming Peacock and a catalog of programs such as Parks and recreation and Brooklyn 99. The deal was being finalized and could close within a week, the sources said.

Gangs of London is one of many programs on the NBCUniversal slate.Credit:Stan

Other media sources said that Seven West Media should reclaim the free-to-air rights to some of the content slate, including reality TV content that usually runs on Hayu. Foxtel, Seven and NBCUniversal declined to comment.

Licensee Stan, who has a contract expiring this year, was involved in talks to secure programming for its subscribers, but sources said the service and its parent company Nine Entertainment Co pulled out several weeks ago in due to pricing issues and clauses that give NBCUniversal the power to terminate and launch its own service, Peacock, at any time. Nine, the owner of this masthead, declined to comment.

Stan’s loss of content could be a blow to his content slate depending on the deals he has in place for existing NBCUniversal content and the exclusivity clauses in the upcoming deal. Sources close to Stan said the company was already focusing on alternative models, which it said would give it control over content.

The sources, who spoke anonymously because the discussions are confidential business, said Nine boss Mike Sneesby and other key executives had traveled to Los Angeles to speak with Hollywood Studios. individual shows that could be ordered and then distributed in the US and UK. This focus on content ownership is part of a gradual shift for Stan, who in his early days relied on major release deals to sustain his business and drive subscriptions.

Nine boss Mike Sneesby and NBCU Australia boss Chris Taylor in 2020 when they signed an exit deal for the Peacock Originals.

Nine boss Mike Sneesby and NBCU Australia boss Chris Taylor in 2020 when they signed an exit deal for the Peacock Originals.Credit:Kate Geraghty

In 2020, NBCUniversal struck a deal with Stan for Peacock Originals, which includes London Gangs, I hate Suzie and The best of worlds (it expires this year). But at the same time, Stan announced plans to embark on a major local content push amid concerns that he was too reliant on Hollywood studios. Sneesby has publicly stated that many of Stan’s top performing shows are originals, which are commissioned by the company.

Under the proposed new deal with NBCUniversal, Foxtel will have access to programs and films from NBCUniversal brands such as Peacock, Sky Studios and Bravo. Seven will also have access to the back catalog and sources said he will have access to programs from NBCUniversal’s reality streaming platform, Hayu.

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