The deal had been widely expected and is believed to run for five years. Besides HBO shows, the new agreement also gives Sky content from Warner Bros. and from Turner channels.
Comcast-owned Sky is the biggest pay-TV operator in Europe. Based in the U.K., its core footprint also spans Italy and Germany. It has invested heavily in original content and is taking those efforts a step further with its recently minted Sky Studios operation. Sky and WarnerMedia-owned HBO have recently worked together on co-productions including “Chernobyl,” a multiple winner at the Emmys.
The two companies first agreed to an output deal in 2010, making Sky the home of HBO in Europe and helping it attract and retain subscribers hooked on such shows as “Game of Thrones.” There had been some question whether the agreement would be extended again or whether WarnerMedia would hold back because of the imminent launch of its HBO Max streaming service, but Wednesday’s announcement means that Sky’s 24 million customers will experience no interruption in their access to HBO content.
“Our partnership with HBO, and now WarnerMedia, has never been stronger as Sky continues to thrive as Europe’s leading direct-to-consumer media and entertainment business,” said Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios. “Customers love our Sky original productions, and together, Sky Studios and HBO Max will bring them more unique stories that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, added: “We are thrilled to find new ways to deepen our longstanding relationship with Sky, and bring a fresh dimension to the great content we continue to bring to consumers.”
Sky also has an output deal with CBS Studios that gives it first dibs on Showtime programming.