Game Of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire: Aussies can now get HBO shows “within hours” of showing in the US.
|Stick ’em up pirates: Foxtel deal looks to kill off TV piracy.|
The landmark ‘exclusive’ deal between Foxtel and TV giant HBO means free-to air channels here will be excluded from showing major series like Boardwalk Empire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, and Entourage.
The move is also a bid by the Pay TV giant to stop pirates in their tracks – as the shows will be broadcast here within hours of screening in the US.
The deal, revealed in The Australian, is “a long-term deal and we get all first-run HBO programming on Foxtel,” Foxtel CEO, Richard Freudenstein said.
So it’s bad news for non-Foxtel subscribers who are fans of the hit shows.
“You won’t see programs like Boardwalk Empire end up on SBS in a couple of years. It removes their ability to sell in a second window to free-to-air television.”
“When we talk about express from the US we mean it very, very seriously. We’re going to be putting things to screen often within hours or 24 hours after their first screening in the US.
“We think that’s a service our customers deserve and we also think that it will continue to attack piracy, which is a big issue in this country.”
HBO’s shows will be shown on Foxtel Showcase channel and subscribers will also have access to a library of classic like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under.
But its not just TV rights – Foxtel has the catch-up TV, tablet and IPTV broadcast rights also.
The cable company, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, is also looking to boost subscriber penetration from about one third to half the population over the next five years.
In the US, Pay TV penetration is about 90%, so Foxtel is eyeing up growth opportunities locally, although Pay TV is pricier here than abroad.
Showcase channel is not included in the basic Foxtel package and comes as part of the Showtime Movies pack, which costs extra.
And deals with other Hollywood content houses are also on the horizon, Foxtel’s boss indicates, but so are price increases.
However, the increase won’t be ” ridiculous” he insisted. Foxtel packages start at around $45 per month for the basic 39 channels and goes up to $122 for platinum pack.
Foxtel are also launching an iPad app for subscribers which gives them 21 channel to view on their tablet, called
Foxtel Go, and will ‘go’ to other mobile devices in the near future.