Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Warner Bros, Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM films may not be missing from Australian pay-TV screens for long, despite the decision to dissolve their joint venture The Movie Network. Each studio is negotiating with dominant platform Foxtel and Deadline has learned the first licensing deals could be signed within two weeks. That would see those studios’ films screening on Foxtel by March or earlier as part of the paybox’s unified movies service. The seven TMN channels will disappear from Foxtel on December 31 when the current contract expires. TMN shareholders had no option other than to pull the plug when Foxtel rejected any idea of the separate channels continuing. Those studios are realizing they will have to accept less lucrative terms as Foxtel cuts costs and reduces the number of movie channels after buying the other major service Showtime from Paramount, NBCUniversal, Fox, Sony and Liberty Media in October. Foxtel is poised to announce a new lineup of rebranded movie channels and a new pricing structure, perhaps as early as Sunday. TMN has appointed Deloitte as liquidators. About 10 TMN staffers are expected to be offered jobs at Foxtel.