OCS secures HBO exclusivity

As predicted by advanced-television.com on March 16th, Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of French quad-play telco Orange and Richard Plepler, Chairman and CEO of HBO, have renewed their multi-year carriage agreement initiated during the creation of OCS, Orange’s group of dedicated premium movies and TV series channels, which was scheduled to end late 2018.

With this renewed, wide-ranging contract, OCS will ultimately become the sole broadcaster of HBO programmes in France. With its 2.6 million subscribers, OCS will be the only TV and SVoD service to broadcast HBO’s upcoming series: Big Little Lies, the final season of Girls, the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, and the new seasons of Westworld.

According to Orange, HBO series are essential viewing and integral to OCS’s positioning of providing what its subscribers want. With the extension and expansion of the alliance with the most prestigious brand in television series production, OCS will significantly enrich the content of its offer and of its use. Through this agreement, OCS has access to the full HBO catalogue of several thousand hours of series, films and other programmes, and soon OCS subscribers will have unlimited access to the extensive variety of the full catalogue via a dedicated SVOD HBO area.

Moreover, the OCS City Generation HBO channel will further reinforce its programming of the channel’s iconic productions, in particular with the widespread use of simulcasts (simultaneous broadcasts with HBO) and with talk shows (the cult show Real Time with Bill Maher joins John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on OCS City starting March 21st).

Ever since the multi-channel package was created in 2008, HBO has entrusted OCS with French premieres of its programmes. At the same time, OCS’s offer has evolved to give TV series fans what they crave whilst anticipating technology accelerations:

  • In 2012, OCS innovated by offering the US+24 service, making it possible to watch series just 24 hours after broadcast in the United States.
  • In October 2013, the 100 per cent cinema series package was relaunched and included the new OCS City ‘Génération HBO’ channel which exclusively premiered new HBO series in France, and OCS launched OCS Go, a non-linear channel which simplifies the OCS on-demand experience, in particular with an all-HBO corner where subscribers can watch HBO cult series on demand.
  • Since April 2015, OCS has offered subscribers the possibility of watching seasons 5 and 6 of Game of Thrones at the same time as in the US – a first in France.

The new agreement reinforces the impact of HBO programmes in France via the OCS 100% cinema series offer.

“This is a significant deal for both parties and once again underlines the importance of content,” noted Paolo Pescatore, Vice President of Multiplay and Media, CCS Insight. “It will also be a major blow to rivals, especially Canal+, which is struggling to maintain its position in the market. However, SFR, through its parent Altice, has been forging numerous partnerships with content providers and poses a considerable threat to Orange. With this in mind, securing exclusivity of key TV shows will be paramount in driving and maintaining subscribers. Content represents the next battleground as telcos prepare to battle to differentiate their offerings and lure subscribers to fibre broadband bundles.”

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