Warner Bros. Extends Output Deal With Germany's ProSiebenSat.1

Diyah Pera/The CW

Warner-produced series like 'The Flash,' and 'The Big Bang Theory' are huge hits in Germany.

Warner Bros. has extended its licensing deal with German broadcast giant ProSiebenSat.1, marking the first time in 20 years the studio has stayed with its network partner in the territory.

Traditionally, Warner Bros. has always moved between ProSiebenSat.1 and its main competitor, Bertelsmann-controlled RTL Group. But the success of Warner shows on ProSieben's networks — including hits The Big Bang Theory, The Flash and Two and A Half Men, as well as a significant price bump for the deal, financial details of which were not disclosed, convinced the studio to stay put.

In a rare move, Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution president Jeffrey Schlesinger flew to Germany to announce the deal renewal at a ProSieben event at Berlin's Soho House. The agreement will see ProSieben take exclusive first window rights for WBTV series in Germany as well as the first TV window rights for Warner Bros. films. Among the series included in the deal are Gotham, The Flash, The Big Bang Theory and new CW series iZombie. Feature film highlights in the package include upcoming tentpoles Batman and Superman, Pan, Mad Max: Fury Road and Moby Dick.

Schlesinger said the deal confirmed Warner Bros.' commitment to free TV, despite increasing competition from SVOD players such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. 

"You'll note that series like The Flash and Gotham air on free TV (in Germany) before they go out anywhere else," he said "keeping that free-TV window is very important for the ecosystem of our business."

The Warner deal also includes rights for the studio's German-language titles. The studio's German arm, run by Willi Geike, has become the country's leading film producer. The top three German films this year: Head Full of Honey, Dreamwomen and The Nanny, are all Warner Bros. productions. Matthias Schweighofer, the director and star of The Nanny, was a surprise guest at the Berlin event on April 10. He gave a sneak preview of his new feature, Der geilste Tag, in which he will co-star alongside the film's director, Florian David Fitz. Warners in Germany will bow the movie here in early 2016.