HBO, Sky Renew Output Deal, Will Co-Produce HBO Max Series

Game of Thrones Still - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of HBO

Sky extended its pay TV rights deal for Warner Bros. first-run feature films.

Comcast-owned European pay TV giant Sky and AT&T-owned WarnerMedia's HBO on Wednesday said they have renewed their long-running programming output deal, which has given Sky access to HBO content for its European territories.  

As part of a wide-ranging content agreement, Sky and HBO also agreed to extend their co-production relationship to series for upcoming streaming service HBO Max. Plus, Sky extended its pay TV rights deal for Warner Bros. first-run feature films.

The companies' previous output deal was struck in 2015 and runs through 2020, covering such hits as Game of Thrones, Succession and Watchmen, as well as a planned Game of Thrones prequel. Sky has aired shows covered by the deal on its drama network Sky Atlantic in the U.K., Germany and Italy, which launched in 2011 and is fueled by U.S. fare, including from Showtime.

The new deal ensures Sky gets other Game of Thrones spin-offs, currently in the works, for its markets if they launch while the deal is in place.

The Sky relationship has meant that HBO hasn't operated a network in Sky's core markets, instead getting paid for its content by Sky. The renewal likely means that HBO won't launch its HBO Max streaming service in the U.K. and other Sky markets, at least as long as the new deal is in place. Sources previously told THR that HBO sees the Sky partnership as the best way to monetize its programming in Sky markets, as long as the price tag is right. Financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed.

HBO and Sky also struck a co-production partnership in 2017 that kicked off with Chernobyl.

Said Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios: "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. 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."

Added Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution: "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."