New Foxtel HBO Warner Bros streaming TV deal explained

Foxtel has announced an extension of its deal with HBO, which will help its Binge become the Australian version of HBO Max.

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On 6 May , 2020, the Foxtel Group confirmed rumours it had extended its partnership with WarnerMedia for exclusive rights to broadcast content into Australia. This will be available through its cable TV and streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services. The key takeaways from the announcement are as follows:
  • The Foxtel Warner partnership is inclusive of both cable and SVOD broadcast rights.
  • Foxtel and Binge will be the exclusive home of original HBO content in Australia.
  • This includes the new original TV shows landing on HBO max moving forward, as long as they have been produced by Warner Bros.*
  • The deal also provides Foxtel and Project Ares with the rights to broadcast and stream Warner Bros' TV and movie catalogue. This includes first-runs of new Warner Bros movies such as those in the DC Comics, Matrix, Tomb Raider, Lego and Harry Potter universes.
  • Continued rights to The Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN.
  • Foxtel and Warner Bros. International Television Production will work together to create new, local Australian scripted and non-scripted shows.
  • The deal also includes Australian rights for The Big Bang Theory and Friends.

How can Stan have HBO content?

Are you wondering why there is an asterisk above? There's a key detail to be read in that bullet point that deserves further analysis. The content on HBO Max that Foxtel has the rights to, at least with respect to this agreement, needs to have been made by Warner Bros. While this constitutes the bulk of what we expect to see on the service, other companies are also making content for HBO Max.

Notably, Stan – the SVOD service from Channel Nine - announced that the Lionsgate produced HBO Max exclusive Love Life will be shown in Australia on its service. This could create some confusion moving forward, but we will endeavour to provide accurate lists to Finder readers as we near the HBO Max launch window.

How can you watch HBO in Australia right now?

If you're excited by the idea of binging on some great HBO content right now, you can. There are three options available to you. The new Binge streaming service which has 16 live channels as well as 10,000+ hours of on-demand content, there's a 14-day free trial to get you started.

The premium Foxtel IQ service, which involves the installaton of a set-top box at your home. Or the SVOD service Foxtel Now, which can be access on a host of devices instantly. If you'd like to try the latter, we have 10-day free trial you can access.

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Why is the Foxtel Warner HBO deal important?

The Foxtel Group is best known for its Foxtel IQ cable TV service, and its Foxtel Now SVOD (steaming video on-demand) service. However, it recently expanded its offering with Kayo Sports and has now done so again in 2020 with Binge.

WarnerMedia is a giant of the entertainment space that's also set for a huge 2020. As well as the TV shows, movies, kids programming and more that stems from its Warner label, the company is also home to HBO. On 27 May, 2020, WarnerMedia will be entering the bustling internet TV space with HBO Max, a rival service to Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime (amongst others).

With HBO widely considered to be the home of the best in scripted TV and TV miniseries – think Game of Thrones, Westworld, Veep, Barry, Chernobyl and True Detective to name a few – HBO Max is a big deal. Especially given the run of exclusive new content landing on the service and decades of legacy hits. However, HBO Max isn't releasing in Australia.

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No installation and no lock-in contract. New customers only. Sign up now.

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What does the Foxtel Warner partnership mean for HBO Max in Australia?

There had never been any concrete plans for HBO Max to reach Australia in the foreseeable future and this deal between Foxtel and Warner should put to bed those rumours for good. While the length of the partnership has not been disclosed, it's speculated to match a five-year deal recently put in place between WarnerMedia and Sky in the UK market. This would suggest the Foxtel Warner deal may run through to 2025.

Binge has positioned itself to – at least in part – act as HBO Max for Australia. Indeed, the Foxtel Group's press release laudes the SVOD aspect of the Warner partnership. It uses terminology like "extensive SVOD rights" and "expanded SVOD rights," to show that it extends beyond what we've seen in the existing Foxtel Warner deal.

Meanwhile, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany spoke of how the deal "will power our broadcast and streaming strategy on multiple platforms and multiple brands." The use there of "multiple brands" being a dead giveaway in this writer's opinion.

In short, it's a big win for Foxtel and Warner. Australia's biggest entertainment provider was quick to claim a number of upcoming HBO blockbusters as its own. This includes the Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon, the return of Gossip Girl and Ridley Scott's Raised by Wolves.

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