Showtime Inks Exclusive Licensing Deal With Canada's Bell Media

The Affair Still - H 2014

The Affair Still - H 2014

The long-term agreement keeps series like 'The Affair' and 'Ray Donovan' away from Netflix Canada.

Canadian broadcaster Bell Media has signed a long-term licensing deal with U.S. cable channel Showtime to raise its game against Netflix Canada.

Bell's pact with Showtime parent CBS will see the Canadian broadcaster bring the Showtime brand and exclusive access to hit shows like The Affair, Ray Donovan and Penny Dreadful to pay TV service The Movie Network and Bell's newly launched SVOD CraveTV.

Though financial terms were not disclosed, the deal allows Showtime for the first time to see its programming aggressively marketed as one brand beyond the U.S. market, a model the U.S. premium channel expects to see rolled out elsewhere internationally.

"Bell Media, with their incredible range of platforms, is uniquely positioned to present Showtime to Canadian audiences in whatever form they choose to watch us," said David Nevins, Showtime Networks president, in a statement on Thursday. Currently, Showtime series air in Canada via a long-term supply deal on TMN and Movie Central, a Western Canadian pay TV channel operated by Corus Entertainment. The latest Showtime deal will see Bell Media's exclusivity start in 2016.

At the same time, a sub-licensing deal may allow Showtime series to continue on Movie Central. Still, the exclusivity of the CBS deal will allow Bell Media to market the Showtime brand for the first time to Canadian TV viewers as CraveTV continues to compete for eyeballs with Netflix Canada.

Read more Canada's Bell Media Announces Launch Date for CraveTV Streaming Service

Bell Media in September 2014 unveiled a separate licensing deal with HBO to give it the exclusive multiplatform rights to HBO’s classic programming, including subscription video-on-demand rights. "This new partnership with CBS Corp. illustrates Bell Media’s commitment to provide additional value to subscribers of CraveTV and The Movie Network, while significantly extending CraveTV’s advantage over its streaming competitors,” said Kevin Crull, Bell Media president, in a statement on Thursday.

"Showtime has clearly become one of TV’s preeminent brands, and its slate of world-class and award-winning scripted and unscripted series, documentaries and specials guarantee our subscribers more of the premium TV they want on the platform of their choice," Crull added. Bell Media isn't alone in scooping up premium U.S. content via super content deals to keep product from Netflix Canada.

Rival SVOD Shomi last week unveiled a separate deal with Sony Pictures Television to get original Amazon Studios series, such as the Golden Globe-winning Transparent, into Canada for the first time. With its own Showtime deal, Bell Media will access for CraveTV to other popular U.S. series like Masters of Sex, Nurse Jackie, Brotherhood, Sleeper Cell, Weeds and The United States of Tara.

The supply deal also positions Bell Media to receive future Showtime series and projects in development. These include Happyish, from Shalom Auslander and starring Steve Coogan and Kathryn Hahn; the limited Twin Peaks series; and the new comedy pilot Roadies in production with Luke Wilson and Christina Hendricks starring.

Jan. 29 12:05 ET Updated with comment and development programming details from Showtime Networks.