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NBCU's Peacock strikes deal with ViacomCBS to stream 'The Godfather' and others

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp's CMCSA.O NBCUniversal has struck a deal with ViacomCBS Inc VIACA.O to bring "The Godfather" trilogy, "Undercover Boss" and other hit franchises to the upcoming Peacock streaming video platform, the companies announced on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: RCA peacock is pictured outside NBC headquarters at Rockefeller Center in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Peacock, set to launch nationally on July 15 on mobile devices, Web and connected television platforms, will compete against Netflix Inc NFLX.O, Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O Prime Video, Walt Disney Co's DIS.N Disney+, Hulu, and AT&T Inc's T.N HBO Max in the fight for paying subscribers.

The content licensing agreement is nonexclusive and shows such as “Undercover Boss” and “Everybody Hates Chris” will continue to be available on ViacomCBS platforms.

“The partnership we are announcing today is consistent with our strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively licensing our library product to third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms,” ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group President Dan Cohen said in a statement.

During a first-quarter earnings call, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish said the license strategy would help the company reach new fans.

“We’re not going to license critical mass of any of our key programming areas ... to any single player,” Bakish said during the May earnings call.

ViacomCBS, which also operates rival subscription and free streaming services, has aggressively licensed content to other services.

Paramount films will be available on Peacock for limited periods throughout 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Peacock offers a free subscription with 7,500 hours of content and a premium option for $4.99 per month with 15,000 hours of content, both of which feature ads. It will offer an ad-free tier for $9.99 per month.

Peacock launched to some Comcast customers for free in April, featuring limited new and existing content such as “30 Rock” and “Jurassic Park.”

(This story corrects in eighth paragraph that Paramount films will be available for limited periods, not ViacomCBS shows)

Reporting by Arriana McLymore in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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