Today, Bell and HBO announced a deal that will see Bell Media become the sole licensee of HBO content in Canada.
Dubbed a “comprehensive, long-term agreement,” Canada’s largest provider of television service will distribute HBO’s back catalogue, in-market programs, and all future content, through an expanded, nationwide pay TV service. The announcement arrives as Corus Entertainment says it will shut down its Movie Central, Encore Avenue and HBO Canada brands in western Canada.
In an announcement today BCE, Bell Media’s parent company, said that it plans to expand The Movie Network (TMN) into a “national pay TV service and become the sole operator of HBO Canada.” The companies also announced a deal to co-create “premium, made-in-Canada content for the world stage.”
The announcement could impact which shows are available on Bell’s streaming service CraveTV, which will expand to all Canadians with an internet connection this coming January.
Under the deal, Bell is allowed to distribute “first-run programming” to its CraveTV service, opening the possibility that shows like Game of Thrones will be streamable to Canadians without a subscription to The Movie Network.
CraveTV is currently available to a select number of television subscribers across Canada for $4 per month. Bell already held licensing rights to HBO’s back catalogue, using shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, Six Feet Under and others.