When it comes to world class drama, there’s no TV producer out there quite like HBO. From current hits like Game of Thrones and Girls to classics like Sex and the City, Oz, The Wire, The Sopranos and so much more, HBO have staked a claim as a world leader in quality TV.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, Sky have been attempting to become the same. Recent original efforts like Fortitude and The Trip to Spain have ensured a steady flow of new signups on the Sky contact number, but they’re still some distance from a HBO style reputation.
Nevertheless, their pre-existing relationship with HBO (all HBO programmes appear exclusively in the UK on Sky Atlantic) has yielded some interesting collaborations, perhaps most notably The Young Pope, which was a collaboration between Sky, HBO and Canal+ in France.
The warm reception of that effort has inspired both Sky and HBO to join forced in order to oversee a development slate of world class drama series with a $250m budget to do so across multiple years. It’s no small sum, and indicates just how seriously Sky and HBO are taking the deal.
The focus of their partnership will be on high end productions which feature engaging stories from points of view which aren’t American, helping HBO to expand their appeal just as Netflix has done. A panel of executives will be responsible for greenlighting projects for the deal, and the companies have announced that they’ll soon be open for pitches from across the creative community, regardless of which country they’re from.
Within the next two years, Sky and HBO are expecting a steady output of drama projects, with at least 2 per year anticipated, with the first one arriving next year. That indicates they’ve already got a project in mind and in development, but the companies have been cagey in announcing exactly what that project is.
Nevertheless, Sky are keen to point out that this isn’t just a content partnership, but a deepening of the relationship between the two companies which will offer Sky customers exclusive access to some of the very best drama around for years to come.
Commenting on the deal struck late last month, the Chairman and CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler said "Sky has been a great partner for us and this deal allows even deeper collaboration between our two great companies, which have a long tradition in creating superior content for our customers. Together we represent the best in television and combined we will raise the bar even higher in pay TV programming."
Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO of Sky added "HBO and Sky have for many years shared a common creative culture and a common vision for the development of high quality drama. This new venture deepens that relationship, maintains our leadership position in world-class content, provides great opportunities for indies and gives our customers even more opportunity to enjoy brilliant story telling."
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