HBO and Sky have extended their exclusive output deal, which first began in the UK with the launch of Sky Atlantic in 2011, across Germany, Italy and Austria, in addition to the existing UK and Ireland arrangement. The deal, which runs until 2020, gives the Sky exclusive first-run rights to HBO shows for its 21 million subscribers across Europe.
It is the first major licensing deal that Sky has inked since creating Europe’s biggest single pay TV operator in November last year following its acquisition of Sky Italia and majority interest in Sky Deutschland to create a European TV giant in a deal worth nearly $11 billion.
Shows include new HBO programming including Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger’s music biz drama, Vinyl and JJ Abrams’ sci-fi thriller Westworld. The pact also extends Sky’s VOD rights and ability to offer catch-up boxset viewing of the likes of Boardwalk Empire, Girls and Game of Thrones.
The move is timely for Sky, coming in the wake of increased competition from the likes of John Malone’s cable behemoth Liberty Global and also expanding telcos such as BT in the UK, who are aggressively moving into pay TV drivers such as live sports.
HBO and Sky have also been extending their partnership across new original programming by co-producing high profile series’ such as Jude Law-starrer The Young Pope, written and directed by the Academy award-winning Paolo Sorrentino.