Last month, we reported that UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB (Sky) had signed a new movie deal with Warner Bros., which granted the News Corp.-backed company exclusive access to movies six months after their run ends in cinemas.
Well, it seems this exclusive partnership is extending far beyond recently-released flicks, as the company today has announced that it has created a mini silo around all eight Harry Potter films as we approach the Christmas period. Starting from November, and running for three months, Sky will be the only place UK viewers will be able to watch the films over a broadcast network, and this includes streaming services such as LoveFilm and Netflix. This deal might also succeed in driving sales of Harry Potter DVD box-sets in the build-up to the festive period.
Sky noted that all eight movies will be available in HD, with each film shown ad-free and uncut, as is the case with all films shown on the channels.
The movies will be playable through the standard Sky+HD box, as well as Sky Go, meaning you’ll be able to watch them On Demand, on the move. The last film in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, will be showing on Sky 3D too.
Furthermore, Sky’s online pay-per-view Now TV service, which launched this summer, will also carry the series via the £15 monthly pass. At the time of writing, Now TV carries movies only, though it’s expected to expand to other content, including Sky Sports, in the near future.
So, this is a scoop for Sky Movies subscribers, but will likely stoke the flames of the ongoing monopoly debate, with other subscription broadcasters arguing that BSkyB holds too much of a grip on premium movies, thanks to its partnerships with the big six Hollywood studios.