Australian pay-TV leader Foxtel has renewed and expanded its long-standing content and channels deal with WarnerMedia. The deal includes a new agreement to co-produce original local content in Australia.
The agreement covers programming from WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros., HBO, HBO Max and WarnerMedia networks, and allows Foxtel to play the content on its broadcast and on-demand platforms.
Foxtel will continue as the Australian home of HBO and become the new exclusive licensee for Warner Bros.’ produced and distributed scripted Originals from HBO Max, which will launch in the U.S. on May 27. Targeted at younger streaming viewers, these stories the reboot of “Gossip Girl,” “The Flight Attendant,” starring Kaley Cuoco, and Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi series “Raised by Wolves.”
The deal also extends exclusive rights for Warner Bros. TV and rights for Warner Bros. extensive movies catalogue, and continues existing carriage agreements supporting Foxtel’s kids’ offering with Cartoon Network and Boomerang, along with expanded SVoD rights, and ongoing CNN access.
The production agreement was variously described as a “partnership (that ) includes a commitment to scripted and non-scripted programming for Warner Bros. International Television Production in Australia,” and a “co-production agreement to create original content, Australian-made and locally-produced, continuing Foxtel’s’ long-term commitment to the Australian production community.”
Foxtel, which is 65% owned by News Corp. and 35% owned by phone company Telstra, last month made 200 of its 2,800 staff redundant as a result of the coronavirus. It put a further 140 staff, mostly from its Fox Sports unit, on furlough. That reflected the way that the coronavirus outbreak has forced the suspension of most sporting events in Australia.
Foxtel relies heavily on live sports for its ability to charge premium prices and retain subscribers in recent years. Many customers have cut the cord or turned to streaming services, such as Netflix and local player Stan, for cheaper film and TV content. The company currently has about 2.5 million paying subscribers.
“We are pleased that after working together for almost 25 years we can announce an expansion of our relationship, not only with Warner Bros. and HBO, but with the extended WarnerMedia family,” said Foxtel CEO, Patrick Delany.
Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution president, said that the deal stretches from news channels to movies and animation. He said that is “a first for our company and a true exemplification of WarnerMedia’s international distribution strategy of putting the viewer first.”