Pan-European pay TV giant Sky and CBS Corp. on Thursday unveiled a long-term licensing agreement for Sky Atlantic to become the exclusive home of Showtime’s portfolio of programming across Sky’s five European markets, namely the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

Previously, Sky has licensed select Showtime content on a program-by-program basis. The Sky Atlantic network also features HBO hits, such as Game of Thrones.

Financial terms and the exact length of the contract weren’t disclosed.

The deal will span all new and future Showtime series, including Billions, which premiered in the U.S. with the best series debut performance ever for a Showtime original.

Other series covered include the return of Twin Peaks and new seasons of such established hits as Ray Donovan and The Affair. The agreement also means customers will have on-demand access to catalog titles, including Californiacation, Dexter and Nurse Jackie.

CBS Corp said this marks “the largest and most expansive international deal to date for Showtime and the first time its content portfolio has been licensed to a single media company across multiple European territories.” It also marks a next step in the company’s global expansion strategy to distribute Showtime’s brand and programming slate as a bundled offering. Last year, CBS and Bell Media struck a similar exclusive agreement for Canada.

The deal is the latest multi-territory agreement for Sky, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake. “The exclusive relationship with Showtime builds on Sky’s position as the leading partner for U.S. content creators in Europe,” Sky said. “Alongside an expanding portfolio of the best shows from the U.S. and around the world, Sky is also growing its investment in original production, which includes a successful partnership with Showtime to co-produce the gothic horror series Penny Dreadful.”

Armando Nunez, president & CEO of the CBS Global Distribution Group, said: “This is the most significant international deal in the history of Showtime and further signals the value and prestige of its content brand in the global marketplace.” He added: “This deal shows how robust and profitable Showtime has become as a standalone product and revenue stream.”

Gary Davey, managing director, content at Sky, said: “This is one of the most important content deals Sky has ever agreed, cementing Sky’s position as the market-leader in Europe for world-class drama.”


Television