Sony and Sky have signed a pan-European deal which will see Sony Pictures films launch exclusively on Sky’s pay-TV service. That means when films such as Ghostbusters and Spider-Man: Homecoming finally come around to broadcast on TV, Sky will be the only one able to show them until the exclusivity runs out.
Not only will Sky have exclusive rights to the content, but as part of the deal Sony says that its films will be available for viewing just ‘a few months after they have been released in cinemas’. Its exclusivity agreement will also last for ‘over a year’.
What’s most notable about the agreement however is the fact that Sky won’t only have exclusive rights to the films themselves, but it will also get ‘UHD productions’, meaning Sky Q users will get 4K content from Sony Pictures before anyone else. Users will still have to wait until the rumoured summer launch of 4K content on Sky Q however.
The pan-European agreement extends to the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy – covering both subscription and ‘transactional’ movie services. That means it covers both films shown on channels such as Sky Movies, as well as those offered on a pay-per-view basis through the likes of the Sky Store.
This is the first time a major Hollywood studio has signed an agreement of this nature, covering this much content and geographical areas. Typically, studios will negotiate agreements on a country-by-country basis, or offer certain films exclusively, rather than its entire roster.
Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are likely to be the biggest losers from this deal – but both have signalled interest in original content rather than licensing third party content. But for consumers it means if they want to enjoy some of Sony’s latest movies, they’ll have to get a Sky or Now TV subscription to do so – or buy the physical Ultra HD Blu-ray.