Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Four U.S. studios have agreed to sell their Australian movie channels to Foxtel, the dominant pay-TV platform, and three other studios are soon expected to follow suit. Foxtel will gain control of the Showtime channels owned by Sony, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Fox and Liberty Media, on October 31. That deal is in line with Foxtel’s desire to own, produce and manage the movie channels on its platform. Foxtel had been negotiating with those studios for months to buy out their contract to supply the Showtime channels via their jointly-owned Premium Movie Partnership, which was due to expire at the end of 2013. A Foxtel spokesman tells Deadline negotiations are continuing with Warner Bros., Disney, MGM and Australia’s Roadshow, which own the other major movie platform The Movie Network. TMN’s contract with Foxtel runs out December 31. The majority of PMP staff will be offered positions at Foxtel. The spokesman declined to say when or if the Showtime channels will be rebranded.