Sky has bested its broadcast and video-on-demand rivals by signing a deal with Warner Bros. for exclusive rights to its films in the UK and Ireland. Once the six-month cinema window has elapsed, each new flick (including Man of Steel and The Dark Knight Rises) will remain Murdoch-only for a full year before arriving on LoveFilm and its kind. Meanwhile, back-catalog titles like The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix will remain locked in the partnership's walled garden for an undisclosed period of time. Good news if you're a Sky customer, we suppose, and not if you're not.
Sky and Warner Bros. announce comprehensive new movie agreement
Sky and Warner Bros. today announce details of a comprehensive film agreement that will see the two companies collaborate on the distribution of Warner Bros.' movies across a wide range of platforms and aim to work more closely on the release and marketing of films in the UK and Ireland.
The new distribution agreements span the first subscription pay TV and pay-per-view windows, enabling Sky to exhibit Warner Bros.' titles on its Sky Movies channels and video-on-demand services, and on a pay-per-view basis via Sky Movies Box Office and Sky Store. This means that subscribers to Sky Movies, and customers of NOW TV, the new internet TV service powered by Sky, will enjoy exclusive access to Warner Bros.' new releases around six months after they have ended their run in cinemas. Once on Sky Movies, these films will be available on the service exclusively for more than a year.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Sky Movies will be the first subscription service in the UK & Ireland to show current Warner Bros. movies such as the UK-produced pictures Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight Rises, Dark Shadows and Wrath of the Titans, as well as future releases such as Man of Steel, The Hangover Part III and The Great Gatsby.
Alongside these brand new films, Sky Movies customers will also have exclusive access to a wide range of classic titles from Warner Bros.' world-class back catalogue, including all Batman movies, The Matrix franchise, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Superman movies and Lethal Weapon 1, 2 and 3.
All of the movies will be available whenever and wherever Sky customers want to watch, via 11 dedicated Sky Movies channels, Sky's comprehensive TV on-demand service and Sky Go, the award-winning multiplatform TV service. For Sky customers, the movies will be provided in HD and 3D, device and title-permitting.
The full suite of Warner Bros. titles will also be available to NOW TV customers with the Sky Movies monthly pass. NOW TV offers easy and flexible access to Sky Movies across PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, YouView, Xbox and selected Android smartphones, with films available to stream instantly. Customers who subscribe to Sky Movies via Virgin Media, UPC and TalkTalk will also be able to enjoy the full range of subscription films from the Warner Bros.' collection.
In addition, prior to their availability on Sky's subscription services, Sky customers will be able to rent on a non-exclusive basis a wide range of Warner Bros. titles through Sky Movies Box Office, which is available to all Sky TV homes, Sky Store and NOW TV. Through these services, all Sky customers can rent Warner Bros.' titles - from the latest movies at the same time as they become available on DVD, through to an extensive library of classic films.
The two companies, meanwhile, have a long history of working together to market films innovatively, most notably on the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, which saw Sky host live 3D footage on air, and in regional cinemas across the country, as well as produce a Premiere Special on Sky 1 and Sky Movies in the days that followed the record-breaking event in Trafalgar Square. This pact also signals an ambition to continue working in this way in the future.
Ian Lewis, Director of Sky Movies comments: "We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with Warner Bros. This new deal will give Sky customers exclusive access to the full range of Warner Bros.' films, including recent hits like The Dark Knight Rises and classic titles such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, reflecting our focus on offering the biggest choice of the best films. By making the films available on demand and on our multiplatform service Sky Go, Sky is strengthening the customer experience, offering customers greater value and flexibility. The deal also sees us extend our reach by offering the films on NOW TV and Sky Store, giving more people new ways to enjoy our fantastic content."
Josh Berger CBE, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland & Spain comments: "As the UK television and digital landscape continues to evolve, we're thrilled to be partnering with Sky to deliver our market-leading motion picture slate to millions of subscribers across multiple platforms. This innovative and ambitious deal presents consumers with myriad ways to enjoy our films, many of which will have been produced here in the UK, and we look forward to working with Sky as it continues to invest in great content."
Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, President, Warner Bros. International Television adds: "We are pleased to extend our association with Sky in the UK and Ireland. In an increasingly competitive environment for high quality features, we have once again selected Sky as the best home for our films in the first pay window. Sky Movies subscribers can look forward to seeing Warner Bros.' new films created by some of Hollywood's most talented directors and stars on Sky's platform in more compelling and convenient ways."