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Australian pay-TV group Foxtel will remain the home down under of HBO content after revealing a new multi-year deal Wednesday with Warner Bros. Discovery.
The two partners described the agreement as “a multi-year, multi-faceted content and platform agreement,” which will keep HBO’s prestige hits like House of the Dragon, The Last of Us, Succession and The White Lotus with Foxtel, as well as Max Originals and other Warner Bros. Discovery content. Anticipated forthcoming series like Dune: The Sisterhood, The Batman spinoff The Penguin and J.J. Abrams’ Duster series are also included under the deal.
Foxtel, a Rupert Murdoch-controlled company, currently counts 4.4 million pay-TV and streaming subscribers across its services in Australia. With the help of HBO content, the company’s flagship Binge streaming service has quickly scaled to 1.44 million subscribers since its launch in May 2020. Data from local research group Media Partners Asia suggests that content from the previous Foxtel-WBD deal, signed in 2020, accounted for as much as 54 percent of Binge’s viewership in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany celebrated the deal as confirming his company’s status as the “partner of choice” in Australia for Hollywood’s top studios. But he also noted the deal included flexibility, reflecting the extent to which both partners’ streaming strategies are still under development.
“We are delighted Warner Bros. Discovery chose us as we continue our long-standing partnership together with optionality at its core,” he said.
Under CEO David Zaslav, WBD has pressed pause on its previously ambitious international rollout plans for HBO Max, as the company focuses on profitability and finalizes its post-merger streaming product for HBO Max/Discovery+. Foxtel, meanwhile, is developing a new streaming aggregator product that it will launch in Australia before the end of 2023.
Added Delany: “A unique business model like ours that covers multiple platforms and brands means we can partner for the long term, and together we will continue to entertain millions of Australians every day for years to come.”
It appears likely that the partnership will be evolved into an aggregation or bundle deal if and when WBD launches its streaming service directly in Australia. But in the meantime, the new agreement continues Zaslav’s strategy of aggressively licensing the Warners library to boost the studio’s bottom line.
Other WBD content covered under the deal includes: returning seasons of internationally acclaimed HBO Original series including Euphoria, True Detective: Night Country, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty and Perry Mason; Warner Bros. Television series including The Flash, East New York and The Winchesters; forthcoming blockbuster movies like Dune 2, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Barbie, as well as the WB library titles like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films and the DC Universe; and a range of channels across Foxtel Group platforms, such as Discovery, Discovery Turbo, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, CNN International, Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
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