Sky and HBO have announced an expanded pan-regional output and production partnership which will make first-run HBO content exclusive to Sky in Germany, Austria and Italy–effectively bringing these territories in line with the UK and Ireland. This is the first pan-regional content deal negotiated by Sky since the launch of Sky Europe (Sky plc) in 2014, which effectively combined an audience of 20 million pay TV subscribers across these five countries.
In 2010 Sky purchased exclusive first-run linear rights to HBO’s slate of shows in the UK and Ireland, launching the Sky Atlantic channel in both territories in January of 2011, with some marquee series, like Game of Thrones, now showing simultaneously with the US. A Sky Atlantic channel debuted in Germany and Austria in 2012 and was followed by a launch in April of 2014 in Italy. Sky announced in January of 2015 that it would begin broadcasting select programming simultaneously across all five countries, starting with the Sky (co-produced) drama Fortitude.
Sky will maintain exclusive first-run linear broadcast rights until 2020. However, in addition to linear TV consumption the deal also ensures that Sky subscribers–in all five markets–gain access to a bigger VoD library of HBO content, made available for longer periods of time. Key to the agreement is that this access will also apply to all Sky digital platforms and their compatible devices, such as Sky Go and Now TV (otherwise known as Sky Online TV in Germany).