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European Pay TV Operator Sky Signs Licensing Deal for Showtime Slate

Deal covers new shows like 'Billions,' which stars Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis

LONDON — Pay TV operator Sky and CBS Corp. have inked a long-term licensing agreement for Sky’s premium pay channel Sky Atlantic to be the exclusive home to Showtime’s shows in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Previously, Sky has licensed select Showtime content from CBS on a program by program basis.

The deal will span all new and future Showtime series, including “Billions,” which premiered in the U.S. with the best series debut performance ever for a Showtime original series. Other new series include the return of “Twin Peaks,” and new seasons of “Ray Donovan” and “The Affair.” The pact also gives Sky’s 21 million subscribers customers on-demand access to Showtime’s back catalog, including “Californication,” “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie.”

Gary Davey, managing director, content at Sky, commented: “This is one of the most important content deals Sky has ever agreed, cementing Sky’s position as the market-leader in Europe for world-class drama.”

Armando Nunez, president and CEO, CBS Global Distribution Group, said: “This is the most significant international deal in the history of Showtime, and further signals the value and prestige of its content brand in the global marketplace.”

As well as acquiring exclusive content from Hollywood producers, Sky has been stepping up its investment in original production, which includes its partnership with Showtime to co-produce the gothic horror series “Penny Dreadful.”

Sky has annual revenues of more than £11 billion ($15.5 billion) and is Europe’s leading investor in television content with a combined programming budget of £4.9 billion ($6.91 billion).

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