Comcast-owned pay-TV giant Sky has a longstanding deal with HBO that gives it all of the WarnerMedia company’s big-ticket drama. With WarnerMedia preparing to launch the HBO Max streaming service next spring, there was speculation that the programming deal with Sky was under threat. But a new deal is expected to be announced as soon as Wednesday, sources tell Variety.
Both WarnerMedia and Sky declined to comment.
The new agreement is expected to include details on how Sky will work with HBO Max, meaning that Sky could carry some of the latter’s slate of originals on its pay-TV and streaming services in Europe. Paybox Sky operates in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
Sky is sinking big bucks into its own original content through its recently formed Sky Studios, with the intent of upping its investment in programming to more than $1 billion a year within the next five years. Sky Studios will fully fund programming and co-produce. In recent times, Sky and HBO have successfully teamed on dramas including nuclear disaster series “Chernobyl,” which cleaned up at the Emmys.
Local content is viewed by Sky as an increasingly important selling point in attracting and retaining subscribers. But premium drama from the U.S. also performs well for the pay-TV outfit. The final season of “Game of Thrones” was a ratings record-setter for Sky. Whether the new deal will include the upcoming “Game of Thrones” spinoffs depends on when they are delivered and the duration of the new HBO-Sky agreement.