The deal, which will aim to feature “engaging stories with international points of view and casting,” will see the two companies co-commission programs that will air on their channels in their home markets and be sold internationally elsewhere.
The first projects from the partnership are already in development and will be announced in the next few weeks, with the first project expected to air in 2018. A panel of execs from both companies will be responsible for greenlighting projects and they anticipate greenlighting at least two drama projects per year.
Sky already has an output deal with HBO via its Sky Atlantic channel, which it extended in 2015. The deal sees HBO’s library including True Detective, Broadwalk Empire, Veep, Girls and Westworld air across the channel in its territories in UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
“Sky has been a great partner for us and this deal allows even deeper collaboration between our two great companies, which have a long tradition in creating superior content for our customers,” said HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler. “Together we represent the best in television and combined we will raise the bar even higher in pay TV programming.”
Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky added: “HBO and Sky have for many years shared a common creative culture and a common vision for the development of high-quality drama. This new venture deepens that relationship and maintains our leadership position in world-class content, provides great opportunities for indies and gives our customers even more opportunity to enjoy brilliant story telling.”
The announcement comes as Sky reported an 11% year-on-year hike in revenues to £9.6B ($12.4B) for the nine months ending March 31. The company announced on Thursday that operating profit fell 11% to $1.3B, which Darroch put down to the rise in Premier League soccer costs (which were at $633.7M) coupled with the company’s investment in Sky Q and the launch of Sky Mobile.