23 Nov 2017
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Sky, CBS in content licensing deal

MUMBAI: UK pay TV service provider Sky and US broadcaster CBS have announced a long-term licensing agreement for Sky Atlantic to be the exclusive home to US cable network Showtime’s growing portfolio of programming across all its territories in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

Previously, Sky has licensed select Showtime content from CBS on a program-by-program basis.

The deal will span all new and future series, including ‘Billions’, which premiered in the US with the best series debut performance ever for a Showtime original series. Other new series include the return of ‘Twin Peaks’ and new seasons of current shows such as ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘The Affair’. The agreement also means customers will have on-demand access to a catalogue of premium Showtime programming including ‘Californication’, ‘Dexter’ and ‘Nurse Jackie’.

The deal is the latest multi-territory agreement secured by Sky as it extends its market-leading offering across entertainment, sports, arts and movies. The exclusive relationship with Showtime builds on Sky’s position as the leading partner for US content creators in Europe. Alongside an expanding portfolio of the best shows from the US and around the world, Sky is also growing its investment in original production, which includes a successful partnership with Showtime to co-produce the gothic horror series ‘Penny Dreadful’.

For CBS, meanwhile, this is the largest and most expansive international deal to date for Showtime and the first time its content portfolio has been licensed to a single media company across multiple European territories. It also marks a significant next step in the company’s global expansion strategy to distribute Showtime’s prestigious brand and broad programming slate as a bundled offering. Last year, CBS and Bell Media announced a similar exclusive agreement for Showtime in Canada.

Beginning this year, Sky’s 21 million customers will have exclusive access on Sky Atlantic to all future Showtime series such as ‘Billions’, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis, and the return of ‘Twin Peaks’ (in 2017).

‘Billions’ is a drama set in the ego-driven world of New York high finance. Following that will be the new series of the iconic ‘Twin Peaks’. Director David Lynch and original co-creator Mark Frost continue the story 25 years after the quaint northwestern town of ‘Twin Peaks’ was left stunned by the murder of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.

In addition to new drama and comedy series, customers will have on-demand access to the Showtime back catalogue of shows. This will include the box sets of series, including ‘The Borgias’, ‘Brotherhood’, ‘Californication’, ‘Dexter’, ‘Nurse Jackie’ and the original ‘Twin Peaks’. In addition to viewing their favourite shows when they want, customers can watch them where they want using Europe’s biggest mobile TV service, Sky Go. Customers who use Sky’s streaming platforms Now TV and Sky Online also have access to this must-see channel live and on-demand.

Alongside scripted content, Sky will have an exclusive option to take all new Showtime distributed unscripted shows such as documentaries, late night and reality shows. Premiere dates for the programming may vary by country, and current rights agreements with other platforms will remain unchanged.

Sky MD content Gary Davey commented, “This is one of the most important content deals Sky has ever agreed, cementing Sky’s position as the market-leader in Europe for world-class drama. We are enormously proud that Sky will be the exclusive home to new Showtime programmes for many years to come, building on a relationship that has grown over time including producing three successful seasons of ‘Penny Dreadful’ together. The agreement means our customers can enjoy an incredible slate of upcoming new dramas like ‘Billions’, ‘Twin Peaks’ and also explore hundreds of hours of amazing series such as ‘Dexter’, ‘Californication’, ‘The Affair’ and House Of Lies’ on-demand from the back catalogue of one of the world’s most exciting pay TV networks.”

CBS Global Distribution Group president, CEO Armando Nuñez said, “This is the most significant international deal in the history of SHOWTIME, and further signals the value and prestige of its content brand in the global marketplace. SHOWTIME CEO David Nevins and his team have built an incredible roster of award-winning, critically acclaimed programming. This deal shows how robust and profitable Showtime has become as a standalone product and revenue stream. We look forward to working with our outstanding partners at Sky to present SHOWTIME to its customers across Europe and on a wide range of their platforms.”