House of Dragon, White Lotus stays on Foxtel in HBO renewal

Pay-TV and streaming company Foxtel is close to signing another multi-year content deal with Hollywood studio Warner Discovery, a move that will give subscribers exclusive access to some of the world’s biggest shows such as: white lotus, house of the dragon, And The last of us.

The Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company, which owns streaming services Binge and Kayo Sports, is expected to sign a local agreement with HBO parent Warner Discovery later this week. The deal is crucial to the group’s plans to continue attracting viewers for years to come.

Shows like HBO's House of Dragon will continue to binge for at least a few more years.

Shows like HBO’s House of Dragon will continue to binge for at least a few more years.Credit:Foxtel

Several people familiar with the negotiations, who spoke anonymously because no agreement was signed, said the license deal would not continue until 2025 at the earliest. However, given Foxtel’s ambitions to launch its own television product and become Australia’s leading streaming aggregator (through a project called Magneto), an agreement with Warner Discovery will likely extend beyond that timeframe. Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said two weeks ago the product was on track to launch later this year. Foxtel and Warner Discovery declined to comment.

Widely regarded as the jewel in the entertainment crown, HBO has transformed the television industry with popular hits like The Sopranos, The Wire, game of Thrones which have attracted millions of viewers around the world. Other recent shows include Succession and Euphoria among many other titles.

The company considered launching its own on-premises platform last year, but reaching out directly to consumers in each market is no longer a priority for many larger U.S. entertainment companies, concerned that their aggressive pursuit of subscribers will eat away at profits.

“The whole world has changed, hasn’t it,” Delany said in an interview after Foxtel released its second-quarter results earlier this month. He said the “throw everything into streaming” model hasn’t proven to work.

“We see a lot of streamers doing the exact same thing. Whatever the decision, whether it’s going over the top or continuing to deliver, we think we’re in a very good position to partner with Warner Bros. 2.4 million subscribers – and announced significant cost reductions across the business as it focuses on profitability.

This is the second time in a few years that Foxtel has outbid Nine Entertainment Co and its streaming service Stan for the rights to a number of HBO programs and Warner Bros shows. The previous deal, signed in 2020, was thought to have been worth up to $200 million a year at its peak.

The company also pitched Stan for a lucrative deal with US studio NBCUniversal, a move that prompted Nine boss Mike Sneesby to fly to talk with Hollywood studios about other ways to acquire content. Nine, the owner of Stan, also owns this imprint. House of Dragon, White Lotus stays on Foxtel in HBO renewal

Brian Lowry

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