Foxtel renews deal with HBO

Foxtel forges new deal with Warner Bros. to remain the home of HBO in Australia.

  • Foxtel  continues as the exclusive Australian Home of HBO and the new exclusive licensee for scripted Originals from HBO Max 
  • Warner Bros. TV and movies catalogue.
  • Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN.
  • SVOD rights for streaming.
  • Commitment to scripted and non-scripted programming with Warner Bros. Australia.

Foxtel will remain the home of HBO originals in Australia after securing new multi-year licencing agreement covering programming from Warner Bros., HBO, HBO Max and WarnerMedia.

The deal ensures Warner Bros., HBO and WarnerMedia networks content from the home of Game of Thrones, Succession, Big Little Lies and Batwoman children’s content from the Cartoon Network and Boomerang and library titles including  Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

It is a major coup for the Pay TV provider at a time when it is under pressure to retain subscribers and a battle for the content with streaming rival, Nine-owned Stan. It will likely mean HBO Max content will be included in Foxtel’s upcoming streaming offering, rumoured to be called Binge, rather than launching as a stand-alone.

The deal also includes a co-production agreement to create original, Australian made content, with Warner Bros. Australia.

Foxtel Group Chief Executive Officer Patrick Delany said: “We are pleased that after working together for almost 25 years we can announce an expansion of our relationship, not only with Warner Bros. and HBO, but with the extended WarnerMedia family. The diverse output from WarnerMedia to the Foxtel Group will power our broadcast and streaming strategy on multiple platforms and multiple brands ensuring our customers continue to enjoy the very best of TV and on demand from the world’s number one producer of television.

“WarnerMedia has a long history in creating the world’s best television. From Bugs Bunny to Batman, Carrie Bradshaw to Rachel Green, Jon Snow to Tony Soprano, WarnerMedia’s characters are amongst the most beloved and iconic in television. There is only one home in Australia for the diversity and volume of product from WarnerMedia and that is Foxtel.”

Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution President Jeffrey R. Schlesinger said: “We are incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to pull together a diverse collection of audience favourite films, series and documentaries from Warner Bros., HBO and HBO Max as well as continued access to leading news and entertainment networks CNN, Cartoon Network and Boomerang and be able to offer all of this in one deal.

“It is a first for our company and a true exemplification of WarnerMedia’s international distribution strategy of putting the viewer first. We look forward to the promise that this deal will offer between Foxtel and WarnerMedia, be it in the delight of audiences continuing to enjoy the quality and first-rate programming of HBO and HBO Max, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, the highly-respected journalistic excellence of CNN, award-winning and popular box-office hits from Warner Bros. or first-time access to fan favourites Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

“We also applaud Foxtel’s commitment to local production in Australia and look forward to developing an impressive slate of programs.”

Agreement Content Highlights

  • HBO Max Originals will bring a collection of stories targeted at younger streaming audiences including the much-anticipated reboot of Gossip Girl, The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco and Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi series Raised by Wolves.
  • As the Australian home of HBO the much anticipated Game of Thrones prequel along with returning seasons of Succession, Barry and Westworld along with every HBO drama series ever made, perfect for bingeing on demand, including Game of Thrones, Sopranos, Sex in the City, Insecure, The Wire and Veep.
  • Renewal of Warner Bros. scripted output and new scripted productions, made for US Network, cable and OTT platforms along with Warner Bros catalogue of TV series including PAYTV and SVOD rights for two of the world’s most popular comedies The Big Bang Theory and Friends for use across the Foxtel Group.
  • Extension of Foxtel’s Movies relationship with Warner Bros. including first-run feature films and its acclaimed library of classics.
  • New co-production agreement to create original content, Australian made and locally produced continuing Foxtel’s’ long-term commitment to the Australian production community.

33 Responses

  1. Foxtel really needs to improve its picture quality. The compression level is far below what is acceptable for large 4k TVs.
    Firstly they need more 4K channels, but even that is compressed more than Netflix, Stan, Amazon, Apple +. It’s acceptable but doesn’t look as good as 4k on other services.
    For the HD shows, they need to at the very least expand the colour ranges. Shows like Westworld which are colour graded and often dark don’t have enough colours and start to look like compressed garbage at times.
    Is there no image quality control?
    If they want people to pay this premium, they should at least try and match the picture and audio quality of the competitors.
    The audio also sucks as it seems like it’s trying to constantly normalise. I’d read it’s based on TV speakers, not people with receivers and proper speaker set ups. You’re watching the Walking Dead. People start…

    1. Colour grading is not something broadcasters can do much about, but supplying formats suitable for UHD is.
      UHD is gradually becoming the new HD for TV so Foxtel should get up to speed with its competitors. The AV1 codec could become the norm, it has started streaming on YouTube.

  2. It all depends on price. If Binge includes all the movies from the movie channels and all content in 4k then I think $25 would be a fair price. Combined with Kayo $50 a month is good value. I’d also like to see a discount for paying annually just like Disney.

  3. I’m interested to see what formats are offered by Foxtel’s new drama channel, it would need to match Netflix with 4K and Dolby Vision, though Netflix do invest more in introducing new streaming technology.
    Binge will definitely need to be constantly updating it’s content to keep subscribers happy, at a possible subscription rate of $15 per month, it will be a tough sell for Foxtel if ‘Binge’ is just a cosmetic revamp of content currently offered on Foxtel Now.

  4. Really dumb move on HBO’s part. They could and should’ve launched HBO Max as a stand alone streaming service here and outside the US, as more people here will just use other methods to access their content.

      1. I tend to agree. HBO Max launches in the US on May 27. Warners can’t be planning an Australian window if they’ve entered into a “multi-year” agreement with the Murdochs.

  5. It keeps Foxtel alive. Now with NRL coming back on May 28, and hopefully AFL next month, things begin to look a bit better for those with the organisation and no more job cuts

  6. Bugger. I wanted HBO to offer us a standalone service. Foxtel is a rip off compared to Netflix Stan Amazon and until it’s $10 a month or similar they are a dying service.

  7. Hopefully the new deal will stop Foxtel plasting its on-screen logo branding on HBO content and remove those awful trailer sponosored promos they force into HBO programing before closing credita, very jarring.

  8. Would this include some of the “DC Universe” shows like Harley Quinn animation. and past WB animation like classic WB vault stuff? or just shows/movies under the HBO/HBOmax banner in the US and new WB scripted productions.

  9. How disappointing. I was hoping HBO Max would be able to launch in Australia. Foxtel must be the most expensive of all our non-FTA options, and you still get ads on top of that? Yuck.

  10. All Foxtel has done is keep what it has. HBO’s premium content and the WB stuff they were buying. Since the Bean Counters at Time Warner took over HBO it is making much lower quality shows, and faces much greater competition from Netflix, Apple, Disney, CBS, and Amazon for premium shows.

    What was rumoured to be the toughest part of the negotiations was for how long does Foxtel have the content and what happens if Time Warner decide to start their own streaming service in Australia? Stan paid a lot to buy and promote Disney content, then within a year ended up having to big against Foxtel for Time Warner content to replace it. And what happens when their Showtime contract ends and ends up on 10 All Access? Nine Entertainment’s new strategy to try and increase subscription revenue to counter competition from internet advertising is in trouble at day 2 after this.

      1. Ok I’m confused, isn’t Love Life, the first of HBO Max’s offerings going to Stan?

        Also, I wonder does any factor of this deal have a provision that content can be released ‘same day as us?’ I’m getting awfully tired of having no idea when Foxtel decides it’s okay to release something in Australia. Recent examples Run (makes no sense it gets released Thursday when John Oliver gets same day) bad education (movie was released last week still a few weeks here) etc. it’s just really disappointing that they can’t really do what every other streamer (even abc with killing eve) can do

        1. Run was supposed to air the same week but last min was pushed back because of Covid. Bad Education was going to be a same day release but also pushed back. They also pushed back the new season of What we do in the shadows from same day till June/July.
          Some of the delays are to keep pushing new content out while everything is shutdown and they dont have big holes with nothing new to show.

          Love Life was a deal with stan by the production company Lionsgate having an existing output deal with Stan.

    1. “All Foxtel has done is keep what it has” is one of the biggest understatements I’ve seen.

      They’ve kept (and broadened) a pipeline to the arguably the best studio in content history. Stan will be absolutely miserable that they haven’t secured this deal – that speaks to how important it is.

      1. Fairfax has printed leaked details about the deal. It costs 2.5 times what Foxtel were paying, $200m pa for the final year, but the number of years isn’t known. They weren’t able to get life-of-series so when the deal ends Timer Warner will be able to pull everything immediately if they decide to launch HBO Max Australia. And the fact that they couldn’t implies that HBO is seriously considering it.

        HBO max is stuff that would have been on HBO, as they move into the streaming market. The other WB stuff was available cheaply. They have taken content that Stan had or wanted. Stan has announced they will try to buy more from Showtime, but will only be able to get what CBS gets more from them than it’s worth putting them on 10 All Access. Stan will have to rely more on the smaller US and UK producers for their content.

  11. I think we can safely chalk that up as a big, and much needed, win for Foxtel.
    If rival bidding forced the price up though (?) retaining such a key contract may have implications elsewhere within Foxtel.

  12. Hmmm, I read in conjunction with last night’s The Business ‘Foxtel’s uncertain future’.

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