Sky signs deal with HBO over Dramas
BSkyB has signed an exclusive rights deal with HBO meaning it’ll have access to the extensive HBO catalogue allowing Sky to air shows such as The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. The deal between the two broadcasters will also allow Sky to show new HBO dramas such as True Blood and new crime drama Boardwalk Empire from Martin Scorsese.
BSkyB has signed an exclusive rights deal with HBO meaning it’ll have access to the extensive HBO catalogue allowing Sky to air shows such as The Wire, Six Feet Under and The Sopranos – according to Media Guardian. The deal between the two broadcasters will also allow Sky to show new HBO dramas such as True Blood and new crime drama Boardwalk Empire from Martin Scorsese. The deal between HBO and Sky is expected to be announced later today and is reportedly worth £150 million over the next five years.
The deal gives Sky access to HBO’s archive allowing it to repeat hugely popular shows such as Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Sex In The City – all previously shown on Channel Four. Critically acclaimed series The Wire will also be available to Sky although it was relatively recently on British television; last year on BBC Two. The deal also gives Sky access to new HBO shows such as True Blood and Curb Your Enthusiasm – both of which are currently broadcaster by other companies in the UK. It’s expected that when those deals expire Sky will then have the right to air new episodes in the UK.
The deal is part of Sky’s drive to boost ratings across its channels and also subscribers for its packages. Sky Arts recently acquired The South Bank Show after ITV decided to cancel it and that move was part of Sky’s plan to demonstrate it can produce public service programmes alongside its more traditional output of football. Sky is also focusing on its drama output and this deal with boost that although it’ll still he heavily relent on American programmes; Sky already shows The Simpsons, Fringe, Stargate Atlantis and Caprica. However, over recent years Sky is invested more in home-grown drama as it tries to find a successful drama hit. Over the years its foray into drama has been mixed with only Dream Team lasting the distance while Mile High and Hex only ran for two seasons before being axed.
Sky’s drive to boost drama and ratings may put it on a collision course with Richard Desmond who has just bought Channel Five. The channel also heavily relies on American imports such as the CSI, NCIS and Law & Order franchises to boost its reach with audiences. However, Desmond is said to be keen to invest in new entertainment formats to attract audiences to Channel Five and top of his wish list is reportedly securing Big Brother and possibly Top of the Pops. It’s also possible that Desmond, like Sky, will want to expand Channel Five’s home-grown drama output following wide criticism of its reliance on American drama. However, Five hasn’t had the best track record with its drama; the revival of Minder was a flop while Australian co-produced Tripping Over only lasted six episodes while Suburban Shootout lasted two seasons.