PARIS – Orange Cinema Series, the pay-TV group of European telco Orange, has scored a multi-year exclusive deal with HBO as the competition for premium content in France heats up with other players such as Altice’s SFR and Vivendi’s Canal Plus.
The agreement gives Orange Cinema Series (OCS) exclusive rights to all of HBO’s programming in France, including upcoming shows such as “Big Little Lies,” the final season of “Girls,” the last two seasons of “Game of Thrones,” and the next seasons of “Westworld.” Popular talk shows are also included in the deal, notably “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
The deal was announced Tuesday by Stéphane Richard, the president of Orange, and Richard Plepler, the chairman and CEO of HBO, at a news conference in Paris.
HBO has been a partner of OCS since the French paybox’s launch in 2008, when the two companies signed a five-year deal. The pact, which only covered first-window rights, was then renewed in 2013 and is due to expire at the end of 2018. Canal Plus will keep second-window rights of HBO until then.
In light of the increased competition for high-profile, first-run programs in France, OCS anticipated the end of its pact with HBO and started negotiating months ago to secure the deal.
The pay-TV service has been successfully leveraging its access to HBO content to ramp up its client base. OCS now ranks as France’s second-biggest pay-TV service behind Canal Plus, with 2.6 million subscribers.
As part of the deal, OCS will also have VOD rights to the programs and the possibility of launching a dedicated HBO channel.
In 2013, the two companies started a channel, OCS City “HBO Generation,” which aired all new HBO series in exclusivity in a first-run window and had a shared OCS-HBO branding.
Since 2015, OCS also been airing each new episode of “Game of Thrones” simultaneously with the U.S., while OCS City “HBO Generation” features a dedicated U.S.+24 VOD service.