Advanced Television

Foxtel’s HBO exclusive deal targets piracy and FTA

October 24, 2012

By Colin Mann

In a move that will help combat Internet piracy and further differentiates it from free-to-air services, Australian pay-TV provider Foxtel has agreed a new output deal with premium US content producer HBO that will deliver new shows to Australian screens sooner.

The new agreement gives Foxtel exclusive first run of all HBO content as well as access HBO’s past programmes. Although Foxtel currently has the Australian first-run rights to major HBO shows such as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones, the fresh deal will allow the screening of certain shows within hours of their US broadcast.

Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel CEO, said the deal would ensure its customers will always see “these compelling HBO shows” exclusively first-run, with many of the key dramas broadcast express from the US as soon as the day after their original air-date.

The deal also removes HBO programming from free-to-air television, even on a second-run basis. SBS is currently broadcasting Season One of Boardwalk Empire. “You won’t see programmes like Boardwalk Empire end up on SBS in a couple of years,” Freudenstein advised, pointing out that the deal removed HBO’s ability to sell in a second window to free-to-air television. “That won’t happen any more. You won’t see those programmes on free-to-air.”

HBO content will now première on Foxtel’s premium drama channel, ShowCase, which will become Australia’s ‘home of HBO’. In addition, subscribers will be able to access a library of classic HBO shows such as The Sopranos and Six Feet Under on Foxtel’s newest channel, SoHo which launched to all subscribers in August with the première of HBO’s latest hit series, The Newsroom.

The first new title to feature under the deal will be HBO’s forthcoming police drama True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

Foxtel will also launch a new app, Foxtel Go, in November. This will initially provide 21 channels, plus on-demand content to Foxtel subscribers free of charge for iPads. The app was successfully tested during the London Olympics.

The deal gives Foxtel the exclusive right to deliver HBO content via linear channels as well as on demand and IP-delivered services.

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