BERLIN — Warner Bros. has extended a wide-ranging licensing deal with German television group ProSiebenSat.1 that includes rights to major upcoming movies, such as “Batman v Superman” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” as well as hit TV shows like “The Flash” and “Gotham.”
The deal is a surprise move for Warners: While the studio had regularly switched between ProSiebenSat.1 and commercial rival RTL, the extension of the licensing agreement marks the first time in years that the Warners programming package will remain with the same company.
Describing WB’s long relationship with the broadcaster as “mutually beneficial,” Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, said ProSiebenSat.1 “provides a terrific platform for our series and films.”
Schlesinger, speaking at a press conference in Berlin to announce the deal, added that “there is no specific strategy that we have in any market about whether we renew with the incumbent or whether we move to another network when our deals are over.” Calling Germany a “very competitive market,” Schlesinger said ProSiebenSat.1 had been “very aggressive in a very competitive environment to acquire the continuing rights.”
The group’s large number of multifaceted outlets, which include free TV, video-on-demand and mobile, made it an ideal broadcasting partner in Germany, he added.
Ruediger Boess, exec VP of ProSiebenSat.1’s Group Programming Acquisitions, said WB’s movies and series were “among the best of our industry” and “rated highly by our viewers.”
WB and ProSiebenSat.1 execs declined to specify the length of the agreement, although Boess did say that the TV group had secured top WB content “for the coming years.”
The deal covers upcoming pics such as “King Arthur,” “Tarzan” and the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” trilogy based on the novel by J.K. Rowling.
Among Warner’s high-profile German-language films is the upcoming “Der geilste Tag,” starring local stars Matthias Schweighoefer (“Friendship!”) and Florian David Fitz (“Vincent Wants to Sea”), who is also directing, as well as Schweighoefer’s current comedy hit, “Der Nanny” (The Nanny), about a construction executive who unknowingly hires as a child care provider a man who is seeking revenge against the wealthy industrialist. One of Germany’s most successful actor-directors, Schweighoefer was also on hand for the announcement.
The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, although Schlesinger pointed out that increasing competition from global players like Netflix and Amazon was leading to higher prices all around for quality content.