NBC definitely believes in magic.
The network just inked a deal with Warner Brothers for the rights to all eight Harry Potter films, which is awesome. But that’s not all. Not only does NBC Universal now own J.K. Rowling’s fantasy film franchise, they’ve also acquired the rights to the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them spin offs and they’ve been granted permission to incorporate even more Harry Potter themed attractions at several of their theme parks.
Obviously, this is a huge deal — literally and figuratively. For the past decade, Disney has owned the rights to the Potter films and has capitalized on the dedication of Rowling’s fan base by airing what’s become its signature TV event — those Harry Potter marathons-on the Freeform channel (previously ABC Family). Harry Potter being housed at Disney and subsequently Freeform seemed like a bit of a no-brainer. The network’s channel appeals to a decidedly younger demographic which overlaps with book readers and fans of the film series.
But, according to some reports, it sounds like Disney wasn’t able to compete with the amount of cash NBC Universal was willing to drop for a chance to dip their wands into Pottermania.
While exact figures have yet to be disclosed, some outlets are saying the value of the deal could be close to $250 million dollars. We’ll repeat that: $250 million dollars, people. That’s like 10 million Galleons. It’s a big pay-out for the TV rights to any film franchise, even if you are the Chosen One.
NBC Universal plans to air the films mainly on its USA and SyFy channels and, if the company did indeed spend that much dough on the deal, it’s hoping the franchise can inject a bit of magic into its ratings. With more and more users cutting the cord, both USA and SyFy have seen a drop in overall viewership. NBC may see the deal as a way to reach not only a younger demographic, but to also tap into a fan base that continues to help the series churn profits, long after Rowling completed the final book.
Films, spin-offs, attractions at theme parks like Universal’s “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” a new play, and a book based off that play — Pottermania never died, it’s just been quietly biding its time waiting to take over the world again. And it’s definitely cast its spell on one of the biggest networks on TV.