Coming Soon to Sky’s HBO Max-Mini

What next for Sky’s mini-HBO Max service?

The pay-TV operator surprised everyone on Friday when it revealed a new multi-year content deal with WarnerMedia that included top HBO Max Original content – and promptly dropped six of these series and two documentaries for streaming on Neon and Sky Go.

The deal, which also includes exclusive HBO content and the prospect of NZ shows under the Sky Originals NZ banner, would appear to rule out HBO setting up its own streaming service here, even though it’s being rolled out in other territories, including Latin America and Europe.

However, the likes of TVNZ may still be able to pick up some HBO Max content for OnDemand (both LoveLife and Friends: The Reunion were acquired on the open market).

TVNZ isn’t commenting on whether it was interested in pursuing its own HBO Max deal for a scaled-down channel on its streaming service.

But this scenario doesn’t sound likely. It’s true TVNZ has a decades-old relationship with WarnerMedia as a volume supplier and has commissioned multiple series from Warner Bros International TV Production NZ.

But Sky’s long-standing HBO partnership, its aggressive expansion of its own streaming platforms, and the need to produce unique Originals of its own makes its HBO Max alliance a better fit.

However, not everything that streams on HBO Max in the US is included in the deal (the same is true of Sky’s HBO pact, with SoHo not screening Spike Lee’s latest).

It covers most of the scripted HBO Max Originals slate — drama, comedy, limited series — but some unscripted titles and the occasional scripted title may wind up on other services because of rights and distribution issues.

All of Sky’s HBO Max content will be available to stream on both Sky Go and Neon, so Sky TV or Neon subscribers can access it at the same time.

Some shows may also screen on Sky’s linear channels, most likely SoHo, subject to scheduling space.

As to what else the deal covers in the short term, here are some highlights:

  • Raised By Wolves S2 (expect later next year)
  • Sex & the City reboot And Just Like That
  • There’s No I In Threesome, a documentary about a director and his fiancée’s year-long open relationship that the New York Times says “offers a clever examination of perspective”
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls, a sex-and-the-campus comedy-drama about three university students in Vermont from Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Show)
  • Head of the Class, a comedy about overachieving students that will premiere in November
  • A Nicki Minaj docuseries
  • The Sudden Death of Brittany Murphy, a two-part documentary that Deadline says will “go beyond the conspiracy theories and headlines”, complete with new archival footage and interviews.
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3 Responses to “Coming Soon to Sky’s HBO Max-Mini”

  1. If TVNZ refuses to provide information I’d suggest making them answer under the Official Information Act. It’s the only way. And if they still refuse go straight to the ombudsman! They have an extremely long history of failure to communicate and failure to provide information.

  2. Surely Discovery will have some say after all Warner Bros. Discovery will be here soon I’m sure they will have big plans involving Three and New Zealand 🤔

  3. Don’t forget, Trevor, that Discovery will have to wait until the end of the Sky-WarnerMedia contract before making its plans concrete. Can’t just rip up an output on a whim …

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