BSkyB (Sky) and Home Box Office (HBO) have entered into a multi-year output deal which will see Sky become the home of HBO programmes in the UK and Ireland. The agreement is part of Sky's ongoing commitment to invest in standout content that differentiates the pay-TV experience and creates more reasons for customers to subscribe.
Under the agreement, all new HBO-commissioned programmes and series will be broadcast exclusively, and in high definition, on Sky channels. The first HBO production to be seen on Sky as part of the output deal will be ‘Boardwalk Empire', the much-anticipated Prohibition-era drama from acclaimed director and Oscar® winner Martin Scorsese and ‘The Sopranos' Emmy-award winning writer Terence Winter. With a cast including Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt and Kelly Macdonald, ‘Boardwalk Empire' is scheduled to make its US debut on HBO in September 2010, with a UK and Ireland premiere on Sky to follow shortly after.
Future HBO productions to be broadcast by Sky will also include ‘Game of Thrones', the fantasy drama based on the series of books ‘A Song of Ice and Fire' by George R.R. Martin, and ‘Luck', executive produced by David Milch and Michael Mann and starring two time Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman. In addition, future seasons of existing HBO shows - such as ‘Entourage' and ‘Big Love' - will be broadcast exclusively on Sky channels in the UK and Ireland at the conclusion of their current broadcast rights agreements.
Sky will also offer access to HBO programmes through its on-demand platforms, including the soon-to-launch Sky Anytime+ service. In addition to availability of the new HBO productions airing exclusively on Sky channels, the on-demand services will offer access to HBO's library of classic shows such as ‘The Sopranos' and ‘Six Feet Under'. Sky will also have right of first negotiation with respect to all future HBO UK co-productions.
HBO has developed an outstanding reputation for critically-acclaimed original programming. Previous highlights have included ‘Band of Brothers,' ‘The Sopranos,' ‘The Wire,' ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,' and ‘Six Feet Under.' Sky recently broadcast two of HBO's most talked-about series of the year, The World War Two epic ‘The Pacific' from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and the award-winning ‘In Treatment', which returns shortly for a second season.
Sophie Turner Laing, Sky's Managing Director, Entertainment, News & Broadcast Operations, comments: “We are committed to bringing customers the best possible choice of pay content, whether that's through original UK production or the best of the US. Like HBO, we believe that innovative, high-quality content is worth paying for. We are therefore delighted to have partnered with one of the most renowned names in television. HBO has demonstrated year after year the opportunity for pay television to push creative boundaries and create must see TV. “
Charles Schreger, HBO's President of Programming Sales, adds: “We are enormously encouraged by the ongoing success story of pay TV in the UK and Ireland and it makes sense for us strategically to find a partner who can sustain a real commitment to investing in content. We believe that Sky customers are in for a real treat with the spectacular shows currently in production such as Boardwalk Empire, as well as new seasons of established HBO favourites.”
The deal was brokered by Sky's Robert Kingston, Sarah Wright and Emma Moloney and HBO's Royce Battleman, Viv Eisenberg and Meeka Bondy.
HBO has developed an outstanding reputation for critically-acclaimed original programming with award-winning series such as ‘Sex and the City', ‘The Sopranos', ‘Six Feet Under', ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm', ‘The Wire' and ‘In Treatment', as well as the epic miniseries ‘Band of Brothers'.
For the tenth consecutive year, HBO is the network with the most Primetime Emmy® Award nominations with a total of 101. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks' World War Two epic, ‘The Pacific', recently broadcast on Sky Movies, leads the awards list with 24 nominations.
Sky operates the most comprehensive multichannel, multi-platform television service in the UK and Ireland. Over 9.7 million homes enjoy an unprecedented choice of movies, news, entertainment and sports channels. Sky continues to break new ground with its own portfolio of channels: Sky1 combines its commitment to UK production with the best of the US; Sky Arts continues to embrace new audiences as the UK's only dedicated arts channel brand; Sky Sports is still raising the bar in sports broadcasting; and Sky News remains a pioneer in multiplatform television news.
More than 6.5 million Sky homes now enjoy the control and flexibility of Sky+ and 2.5 million homes have already joined Sky+HD, which provides access to 43 dedicated HD channels and future innovative services such broadband-enabled video-on-demand and 3D TV.
Sky has also been the UK's fastest growing broadband and fixed-telephony provider for more than two years.