CBS has struck a deal with the Toronto’s Bell Media to bring the Showtime brand to Canada. The deal represents the first time Showtime’s programming will be distributed and marketed under the brand outside the US.
Bell Media will feature Showtime programming during a special branded Sunday evening block on its traditional pay-TV service, called the Movie Network. Its programming also will appear as part of a Showtime collection on CraveTV, Bell Media’s streaming service.
Showtime has licensed its programming around the globe, but its brand had not been shown prominently. The new deal is an initial step in a broader international expansion for Showtime, with executives calling the agreement a template for how they plan to raise the network’s global profile.
“Our shows are everywhere, but our brand is not,” said David Nevins, president of Showtime Networks. “Now, it is about the Showtime brand.”
Main domestic rival HBO now operates networks in over 60 countries and Netflix said last week that it would accelerate its global expansion to operate in 200 countries by the end of 2016, up from 50 now.
Showtime said critical acclaim and awards for its series – Homeland has been world hit – along with a push to fully own the bulk of its programming, were the driving forces behind the deal with Bell Media and others to come.