Could Comcast be Netflix's new competitor?

The cable provider is said to be seeking the exclusive pay-TV rights for "Despicable Me 2," which could put it in direct competition with movie-streaming services.

Minions in "Despicable Me 2." Universal Pictures

The movie "Despicable Me 2" was the fourth biggest box-office hit of 2013, so naturally all sorts of video-streaming providers would vie for its exclusive access. But, it'd be unusual for a cable company to try to get its hands on the movie.

It appears, however, times are changing. According to The Wall Street Journal, Comcast is said to be seeking the exclusive pay-television rights to "Despicable Me 2" in order for its users to be able to stream the movie.

If the deal goes through, this would be the first time a cable provider would have edged into the exclusive pay-TV rights business, according to the Journal. It also means that Comcast would be putting itself in direct competition with movie-streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and HBO.

"Despicable Me 2" was produced by Universal Pictures, which is also owned by Comcast. Typically, Universal licenses its pay-TV rights to HBO. However, HBO passed on the film, which now gives other providers the opportunity to make bids for its pay-TV rights.

If Comcast were to land the pay-TV rights to "Despicable Me 2," it would most likely offer the movie free to monthly subscribers.

Comcast already offers subscribers movies with its on-demand rental and download service, and it also streams older films and TV shows with its Streampix service -- it has yet to get exclusive pay-TV rights to recent blockbusters, however.

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