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Warner Bros. Discovery has signed a long-term and exclusive licensing deal with Bell Media in Canada to make its Crave streamer the exclusive home of content from the Hollywood studio.
The agreement, also covering Bell Media’s traditional linear TV networks, encompasses English and French-language rights to all HBO and Max original series on Crave, the DC universe, the Harry Potter universe, new cable and library TV series, and pay and post-pay window rights for Warner Bros. Pictures movies.
Warner Bros. Discovery TV series headed to Crave for catch-up viewing include Game of Thrones, Friends and The Big Bang Theory, which have established big fan bases in Canada over the years.
Terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed, but it comes ahead of Bell Media and other Canadian broadcasters shopping for new and returning TV series at the Los Angeles Screenings, usually via long-standing output deals with the major studios.
The Hollywood studios tend to shop their TV series to top Canadian broadcasters as middlemen via lucrative output deals, while choosing to distribute their film and TV content elsewhere internationally direct to consumers. The latest deal with Warner Bros. Discovery builds on a 2019 agreement with Bell Media with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution to bring HBO Max original programming to Canada.
With the latest expanded studio deal, Bell Media is assured of a steady supply of popular American programming to retain cable and streaming subscribers amid cord-cutting and changing viewership habits in the Canadian market. American film and TV fare is essential to private Canadian broadcasters as they save their best linear TV and streamer slots to U.S. studio content, while relegating homegrown TV series to the margins of their grids.
“Bell Media is committed to providing Canadians with the most compelling content, and this deal, which secures the biggest titles on screens today, does just that,” Karine Moses, senior vp content development and news for Bell Media, said in a statement.
Warner Bros. Pictures movies included in the latest studio deal includes pay and post-pay window rights for The Flash, Dune: Part Two, Magic Mike’s Last Dance and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
And library films in the agreement include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter collection and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Rival Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment has its own pricey content deals with U.S. studios, including ones with Hulu and Paramount Global and its streaming service Pluto TV.
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