Not content with signing HBO up as exclusive to the channel, Sky Atlantic has now announced it's also tied up Showcase with a similar deal, depriving Virgin Media customers of further US cable hits.
“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,” said Sky Content boss Gary Davey.The absence of Sky Atlantic from Virgin has long been a bone of contention for many cable customers, myself included, and for the last few years I've subscribed to Now TV's Entertainment package just to get access to the channel and related Sky Box sets. The downside for Virgin Media is that, as the Now TV platform matures, the money I spend on Virgin's XL TV is increasingly looking like poor value compared with the Sky-powerered alternative and unless something changes soon I may abandon Virgin's TV service simply because I'm paying VM a small fortune each month when almost all the shows I watch are on Freeview, Netflix or Atlantic.
“The agreement means our customers can enjoy an incredible slate of upcoming new dramas like Billions, Twin Peaks and also explore hundreds of hours of amazing series such as Dexter, Californication, The Affair and House of Lies on demand from the back catalogue of one of the world’s most exciting pay TV networks.”
The value of the deal was not revealed but Sky is known to have paid at least£55m a year for a UK-only HBO rights agreement, which runs until 2020.
The pan-European Showtime deal is thought to be worth about £75m per year.