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NBCU’s Jeff Shell Doubles Down on PVOD Importance

Fern Siegel

Noting the $100 million streaming success of “Trolls World Tour” to date, Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, said the company would continue to release movies in theaters and stream in future. That remark caused AMC Theatres to ban any future Universal movies from its theaters.

Today, Shell reiterated PVOD’s status, noted Deadline.

In a Comcast Q1 earnings call, Shell said: “The question is when we come out of this, what is going to be the model. I would expect that consumers will return to the theaters and we will be part of that. And I also expect that PVOD is going to be a part of that in some way. It’s not a replacement; it’s going to be a complementary element. We’re just going to have to see how long that takes and where it takes us.

“There’s no question that theatrical is someday again going to be the central element to our business and the film business that’s helped people make their movies and how they expect their movies to be seen,” Shell said. “But the flip side is the majority of movies, whether we like it or not, are being consumed at home, and it’s not realistic to assume that we’re not going to change.”

While the financial results for “Trolls” won’t be fully known until Q2 numbers are published, the pandemic environment has shifted strategic priorities.

Shell acknowledged the debate between delay and release to investors.

“Do we delay those movies to a time when we think theaters are going to be back open again, we did that with “Fast” and “Minions,” or do we sell them or move them to streaming? Some of our other competitors have done that. Or, do we try something new to try and preserve the nature of movies — and that’s how we came up with the PVOD offering.”

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