Amazon is losing the rights to stream the historical series to NBCUniversal’s new subscription service Peacock, which will launch on July 15. Though the move to a major network may come as a surprise to some viewers, it’s actually not as bizarre as it sounds.
In 2008, NBCUniversal purchased Carnival Films, the U.K. production company behind Downton Abbey, which was only in development at the time. So NBC has actually been benefitting from the show’s success since its premiere in 2010.
Carnival’s managing director, Gareth Neame, stated in 2012 that NBC’s acquisition of the studio “really opened a lot of doors” for the company, including the opportunity to produce a TV adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” for the network. Unfortunately, the project wasn’t nearly as popular as Downton Abbey.
Given NBC’s deep ties to the period piece, we can’t blame Amazon for its removal from the site, but the video platform did allegedly admit to screwing up the timeline after members complained that the series disappeared from their watchlists earlier than expected.
“Went to finish my last 4 episodes of Downton Abbey before they take it off Amazon tomorrow… JOKE’S ON ME. They decided to take it down a day early,” one disgruntled subscriber wrote on Twitter.
A second user demanded, “[Amazon] put Downton Abbey back on today June 30 and comply with your prior agreement to take it off on July 1. This is not good customer service.”
According to an individual with the handle @patrick59932408, Amazon acknowledged that they had made a mistake: “Amazon says [Downton Abbey] should be restored this evening. It was taken down due to a technical glitch. However it will be removed from prime at midnight. After that I assume you will have to purchase the episodes.”