Sky, HBO target co-production in content deal renewal

HBO's Game of Thrones

HBO’s Game of Thrones

The UK’s BSkyB and pay TV counterpart HBO are to up their partnership by co-developing and producing new dramas, following an extension of their existing content agreement.

The pair will seek to develop and produce “spectacular” scripted projects with the potential to run for several seasons, with production jointly funded.

“Original production is the natural next step for our partnership with HBO and we are enormously excited at the prospect of working together to realise our shared vision for epic drama of a truly spectacular scale,” said Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch.

The announcement came as Sky paid up to a reported £275 million (€333 million) to renew its first-run output deal with HBO for programming in the UK and Ireland until 2020.

Sky scored the initial agreement with HBO in 2010 and went on to launch its ‘home of HBO’ Sky Atlantic pay TV channel for shows such as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Mad Men and The Wire.

Under the new agreement, new HBO shows such as True Detective and Looking will debut on Sky Atlantic, alongside new seasons of Girls, Thrones and Boardwalk Empire.

Sky will continue to enjoy extensive multiplatform rights that will see the content remain available through Sky Go and through a la carte web TV platform NOW TV.

Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, said of the new agreement: “The deal with Sky was trailblazing in that it served as a model for similar arrangements we entered into around the world, with Sky Atlantic held up as the gold standard. The team at Sky are true partners and the extension and expansion of our relationship feels like an obvious next step.”

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