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HBO renews output deal with 20th Century Fox

HBO has extended its output deal with 20th Century Fox, the companies announced Tuesday, kkeeping one of the biggest sources of theatricals to the pay cabler around through 2022.

Existing pact was scheduled to expire in 2015. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but these are typically massive deals; the Time Warner-owned net paid the studio $1 billion over the course of the 10-year deal they last signed. Perhaps more importantly, it keeps Fox from doing a deal with one of HBO’s rivals including Showtime, Starz and Netflix. 

Fox won a concession unprecedented in HBO’s output deals: electronic-sell-through rights, according to sources, which also indicated HBO is currently in talks with the other studios about allowing them to retain those rights in their current deals.

Getting EST is key because under the terms of existing output pacts studios can’t keep titles up while they are in HBO’s pay-TV window on virtual storefronts like iTunes that allow consumers to buy movies. 

HBO and Fox have had an output deal going over 30 years. Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are HBO’s other major output deals, with WB’s up next year and Universal’s set to expire in 2016. HBO also secured an output deal last year with Summit. 

Starz still has Disney and Sony output deals. Showtime has DreamWorks, Weinstein and CBS while Epix has rights to films from its principals, Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount Pictures.

Re-upping with Fox reflects the continuing importance of theatricals at HBO, which has made original programming such an increasingly prominent part of its programming mix that no output deal is a sure thing for renewal these days. Deal also demonstrates a belief at Time Warner in the long-term viability of the theatrical slate at Fox.

“We couldn’t be happier to announce the extension of our long-standing relationship with HBO, the leading premium pay television service in the United States,” said Mark Kaner, president of 20th Century Fox Distribution. 

Netflix has showed a willingness to go after content in the pay-TV window, having successfully bid last September for the rights to DreamWorks Animation titles that were previously on HBO. However, the DreamWorks deal is nowhere near the scale of the 20th deal.

Netflix also felt HBO’s presence in the Scandinavian region Tuesday, when the pay cabler announced HBO Nordic, a joint venture with Parsifal International that will provide multiplatform programming there. The announcement came hours after Netflix disclosed its own launch in the exact same markets where HBO Nordic will be made available–Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway–scheduled for the fourth quarter of the year.

HBO hasn’t disclosed when HBO Nordic will launch.


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