Warner Bros., Brazil’s Grupo Globo Ink
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Free-to-air multi-year rights agreement takes in ‘American Sniper,’ ‘Gotham,’ ‘The Flash’

In a deal that links two of the world’s biggest TV players, Warner Bros. International Television Distribution has inked an exclusive multi-year free-to-air TV deal with Brazil’s Grupo Globo, Latin America’s biggest TV network.

Announced Monday by Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. International Television, and Globo CEO Carlos Henrique Schroder, the broadcast rights deal takes in Warner Bros. Pictures feature films such as  “American Sniper,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” to name a few movies, as well as TV series from Warner Bros. Television. Three instances: “Gotham,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl.”

“Brazil is an important market and we are glad that viewers will have access to some of our world-class feature films and series,” said Schlesinger.

For any major licensor – and WBITVD licenses 61,000 hours of programming, including 6,500 features and 3,000 TV programs, often series – it is indeed hard to underestimate the importance of Brazil in general, the sixth largest TV market in the world, and Globo in particular, which dominates that market like few counterparts in other major territories.

Every day on average 96 million viewers tune into to Globo, its flagship free-to-air channel. Its telenovelas still punch massive audiences: 39 million and a 58% audience share this June for the final episode of “Total Dreamer,” about a tribulations of a wannabe fashion model. In 2015, Globo accounted for 64.7% of total free TV revenues Brazil, according to IHS Technology.

Globo still produces the vast majority of its own programming – close to 3,000 annual hours of telenovelas and programs, notching up 14 International Emmys.

But after 40 million Brazilians have joined its middle classes from 2003, Globo has diversified its production, making limited 10-episode series, for instance. It has also driven into cutting-edge technology, bowing plush period miniseries “Dangerous Liaisons” in 4K High Dynamic Range for users of its catch-up “freemium” VOD service, Globo Play.

The WBITV volume deal – by which Globo commits to a certain number of titles or a certain amount of money over the contract period – adds to further multi-year Globo deals with major Hollywood studios Sony, Fox and Disney.

“This deal with Warners will bring us more variety and good films and series for our slots on Globo, reinforcing our commitment to free-to-air TV in Brazil,” said Schroder.

Like European broadcasters ITV and RTL before it, Globo is “going through a transformation, from being a linear TV channel to a producer/distributor of content on all possible platforms,” Erick Bretas, Globo head of digital media, said last month, explaining the network’s high-tech innovations in its Rio Olympics coverage.

But with its core Globo channel still watched by audiences which only major sporting events command on TV in the U.S., Grupo Globo certainly can’t afford to forget its flagship channel Globo, which remains its major cash cow, alongside Globo’s satellite pay TV operations in Brazil.

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