In an announcement that’s caught many by surprise, Foxtel today revealed that they have inked a new long-term licensing agreement with WarnerMedia – a deal which ensures that HBO’s legendary programming will be staying with Foxtel for many years to come, but also grants the pay TV giant access to an even larger pool of shows.
A giant US entertainment company formed from multiple mergers over the past few years, WarnerMedia is the owner of HBO, with its decades-long legacy including landmark shows like Game of Thrones, The Wire, Veep, Sex and the City and The Sopranos, along with a continuing output of stunning programming like Westworld, Succession, Big Little Lies, Euphoria, Barry, Chernobyl and many more.
The rebranding of HBO’s on-demand streaming service as HBO Max in the US this month has had many in Australia speculating that either WarnerMedia would set the service up here themselves, or that local streaming service Stan might step in to grab the rights away from Foxtel, which has had a partnership with HBO for over two decades now. That long history clearly worked in Foxtel’s favour, and it’s great news for Foxtel customers – who’ll still have access to all their HBO favourites as well as a huge range of exciting new shows, and some much-loved classics.
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HBO to the Max
Beyond HBO’s critically acclaimed series, movies and docos, WarnerMedia has been busy producing original content for its new streaming service HBO Max – a service that many had speculated may launch here in Australia, much as Disney did last year. Instead, though, this new deal gives Foxtel exclusive Australian rights to the upcoming new HBO Max shows – including a reboot of long-running fan favourite Gossip Girl and a new sci-fi series Raised by Wolves from powerhouse filmmaker Ridley Scott.
In total, HBO Max has plans for over 30 new shows in its first year along with many original new films. All that new content will be exclusive to Foxtel, both for broadcast on Fox Showcase and other channels and for streaming on demand.
But Wait, There’s More!
The sheer size of this new deal really hits home when you realise it also includes a renewal of the rights to Warner Brothers’ current and past TV shows and movies, as well as ever-popular long-running TV series including Friends and The Big Bang Theory. There’ll be continued access to shows from The CW such as Katy Keene, kids’ shows on Cartoon Network and Boomerang and of course, 24-hour access to Warner’s CNN news network.
But in addition to all this, the new deal goes a step further by including a commitment for Foxtel to create new programs – both scripted and unscripted – with Warner Brothers’ international production division. With Australian TV and film production very much in need of a boost, this will come as welcome news across all sectors of the Australian creative community.
The New Stuff – Coming Very Soon
While Foxtel hasn’t announced firm air dates for the new HBO Max shows, there’s a reason this deal was made right now. HBO Max launches in the US in only a few weeks, and with the deal now signed and sealed, that means you can expect to start seeing ads and launch dates for the HBO Max shows you’ve been hearing about very soon. And the best part is that all this extra stuff is included in your existing Foxtel subscription – there’s no extra service to sign up and pay for, and no change to the steady stream of superb HBO shows, often fast-tracked from the US and only available to watch (or stream on demand) on Foxtel.
Make no mistake, this is big news – and, for Foxtel customers, that translates to even more entertainment bang for the buck.