Foxtel and HBO reach exclusive multi-year deal ahead of HBO Max’s US launch

Foxtel will continue to be the exclusive “home of HBO” in Australia after reaching a multi-year agreement with Warner Media, the parent company of the US TV network behind the likes of Succession, Game of Thrones, Big Little Lies and The Sopranos.

News Corp-controlled Foxtel and Nine’s Stan were competing to reach a deal with HBO, which is launching its HBO Max streaming service in the US later this month. The securing of the multi-year licensing deal will inevitably delay the local launch of the streaming platform though, with Foxtel now becoming the exclusive licensee of HBO Max’s Warner Bros’ originals, including a reboot of Gossip Girl and Ridley Scott sci-fi series Raised by Wolves.

Foxtel’s Delany

The media company would not comment on how long the HBO agreement stretches for, but Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said it reinforces Foxtel is the home a “diversity and volume” of content that will soon include the Game of Thrones sequel, along with returning seasons of Succession, Barry, and Westworld.

“We are pleased that after working together for almost 25 years we can announce an expansion of our relationship, not only with Warner Bros. and HBO, but with the extended WarnerMedia family,” Delany said.

“The diverse output from WarnerMedia to the Foxtel Group will power our broadcast and streaming strategy on multiple platforms and multiple brands ensuring our customers continue to enjoy the very best of TV and on demand from the world’s number one producer of television.

“Warner Media has a long history in creating the world’s best television. From Bugs Bunny to Batman, Carrie Bradshaw to Rachel Green, Jon Snow to Tony Soprano, WarnerMedia’s characters are amongst the most beloved and iconic in television. There is only one home in Australia for the diversity and volume of product from WarnerMedia and that is Foxtel.”


The deal extends Foxtel’s exclusive rights to Warner Bros’ TV and movies library, in addition to expanded SVOD rights for kids’ channels Cartoon Network and Boomerang, ongoing CNN access, and a new co-production agreement to make scripted and non-scripted Australian content.

It’s a much-needed win for Foxtel, which continues to leak subscribers and attract headlines over its rugby union rights struggle. Last month, the business made 200 roles redundant and stood down a further 140 employees. And last week, it cut a further 70 jobs.

Delany has previously defended the company’s churn, claiming it’s coming from low-value customers the company “shouldn’t have chased” because they were paying just $26 for a basic subscription that “is not a great experience” anyway.

Last year, the business struck a deal with HBO Max’s biggest rival, Netflix, allowing users to access the streaming giant’s content through Foxtel’s interface. Delany called the launch a “revolution” and said, “It shouldn’t have been [a shock to people]; we should have done it five years ago.”

Warner Bros’ worldwide TV distribution president, Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, said the breadth of the agreement is a company-first.

“We are incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to pull together a diverse collection of audience favourite films, series and documentaries from Warner Bros., HBO and HBO Max as well as continued access to leading news and entertainment networks CNN, Cartoon Network and Boomerang and be able to offer all of this in one deal,” he said.

“It is a first for our company and a true exemplification of WarnerMedia’s international distribution strategy of putting the viewer first. We look forward to the promise that this deal will offer between Foxtel and WarnerMedia, be it in the delight of audiences continuing to enjoy the quality and first-rate programming of HBO and HBO Max, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, the highly-respected journalistic excellence of CNN, award-winning and popular box-office hits from Warner Bros. or first-time access to fan favourites Friends and The Big Bang Theory.

“We also applaud Foxtel’s commitment to local production in Australia and look forward to developing an impressive slate of programs.”

Meanwhile, Foxtel’s sports streaming platform Kayo is currently dealing with the absence of sports to air due to COVID-19. Two weeks ago, the advertising watchdog ruled its ‘Nowhere is safe from footy’ campaign breached rules about violence and safety.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.