BSkyB snatches HBO shows amidst strong profits [UPDATE]

BSkyB has captured the complete HBO catalogue, including hit shows The Wire, True Blood and The Sopranos, after tying up a £150 million deal.

It means that Sky will have exclusive rights not only to new HBO shows, but the entire HBO archive.

HBO shows, such as Sex and the City, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm, will begin showing on Sky when deals with rival broadcasters expire. Martin Scorcese’s gangster drama ‘Boardwalk Empire’ will be the first series to debut on Sky.

However, Sky still seems incapable of producing quality homegrown programming, with recent flops including the Strictly Come Dancing rip-off  Come Dance With Me, hosted by Davina McCall.

New Channel Five owner Richard Desmond will wince at the figures, as Sky’s programming spend looks to hit around £1.7 billion this year. 5’s total programming budget is in the region of £165 million.

The deal is the cherry on the cake to what has been an impressive week for Sky. Just today the company announced it had attracted more than 400,000 new subscribers to it’s HD service, reaching profitability for the first time.

Sky reported that revenue has risen 11 per cent to £5.9 billion in the second quarter of the year, with operating profits increasing 10 per cent year-on-year to £855 million.

All the numbers suggests that Sky is on course to hit its target of 10 million subscribers by the end of the year.

HD subscription figures have also benefited from the World Cup and Sky’s relentless advertising campaigns. The company said that 30 per cent of its 9.86 million subscribers have Sky+HD installed.

[UPDATE: 30/7/10]

UK channel FX has stated that it still owns the exclusive pay TV and first-run rights for the life of series of HBO show True Blood, as well as others including The Wire.

This news means that programs still under license by FX cannot be shown on any other pay-TV channels.

(Source: MediaGuardian, Digital Spy)

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