UPDATE - Sky Atlantic has since launched in Sky's European markets of Italy, Germany and Austria, and has proven to be a huge success. Sky haven't released any numbers regarding viewership numbers in Europe, but with stronger demand than ever for Sky across Europe via the Sky contact number, it's fair to assume that Sky Atlantic has been a big hit. What follows is our original coverage of Sky's exclusive deal with HBO for European broadcast rights, from November 2015.
Ever since Sky landed a deal to bring HBO programming exclusively to the UK the company have been the go to service for TV lovers. The channel that was built around that deal, Sky Atlantic, has been a huge driver of growth for Sky during these last few years, and one of the main points of differentiation in what is a highly competitive market. For customers, it's means that the likes of Game of Thrones, Girls, The Sopranos, Last Week Tonight and many more unmissable TV programmes have landed on their screens, often at the exact same time as they've been broadcast in the US. Time and time again, customers on the phone number to Sky have cited access to Sky Atlantic as one of their primary reasons for not leaving Sky to join BT or Virgin, but what about those overseas Sky subscribers?
Indeed, ever since Sky completed their gigantic acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, customers in those markets have wondered when they'd see access to HBO's programming, if ever. Well, those customers need wonder no longer, because Sky have announced that they've extended their partnership with HBO to bring the channels to every single one of their 21 million customers across Europe. This new deal means Sky have exclusive first run rights to broadcast in Germany, Austria and Italy until 2020. It also means that the HBO library will be available on catch up for those customers. It is expected that Sky will launch regional variations of Sky Atlantic shortly, in time to catch some of the fantastic programmes launching through HBO soon.
Those programmes include Vinyl and Westworld. Vinyl comes from the minds of Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Mick Jagger (Winter and Scorsese also worked on the spectacular Boardwalk Empire together), and is set in the music business during 70s New York. Due to premiere in February 2016, it stars Bobby Cannavale, Olivia Wilde and Ray Romano in a story that brings to life one of the most vital, dangerous and cocaine fueled periods in music history. Westworld is based on the 1973 sci-fi western of the same name and is exec produced by Jonathan Nolan and J.J Abrams and counts Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Thandie Newton amongst its incredible all star cast.
Gary Davey, Managing Director, Content, Sky comments: “HBO continues to deliver many of the most-talked about and exciting TV shows anywhere in the world. This new agreement, Sky’s first pan-European content deal, confirms Sky Atlantic as the home of HBO in all our markets both live and on demand. Sky and HBO share many common values, as well as a passion for high-quality television like Game of Thrones and Veep. Our partnership, in its sixth year, now escalates to a whole new level. HBO has an amazing slate planned for 2016 including Vinyl and Westworld but it will also see the premiere of our first co-production together, the Young Pope starring Jude Law.”
Charles Schreger, President, Programming Sales, HBO said: “As a partner, Sky has always shown the greatest of respect and appreciation for the HBO brand. They have shined a spotlight on our original programming and treated the shows as preciously as if they were their own. This ongoing relationship has been rewarding and successful to both of us and this expansion is representative of the trust and admiration we have for them as well as a belief that we can elevate each other even further.”
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