HBO Canada nabs rights to back catalogues of HBO shows

Bell Media also nabs off-air catalogue

Canadians will soon have instant access to every episode of popular HBO shows like Game of Thrones and True Detective through a new multi-platform agreement with the U.S. cable channel.

Corus Entertainment and BCE’s Bell Media say they’ve struck a deal that secures the exclusive rights for all HBO scripted series that are currently produced, plus their entire past-season libraries.

Previous agreements with HBO only allowed the Canadian broadcasters to make select seasons of each show available during certain licensing windows. The new deal extends for multiple years, though the companies did not disclose the exact timeframe.

In a separate deal, Bell Media also announced it has signed a national multi-platform deal for HBO’s off-air catalog. According to a release, this includes more than 850 hours of scripted programming in addition to the network’s popular comedy specials, movies and documentaries.

Back-catalogues of hit TV shows have become extremely valuable to broadcasters in recent years as they try to fend off services like Netflix Canada, which carries full seasons of shows from around the world, and exclusive series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Some U.S. networks have credited binge watching for giving their TV shows a significant season-to-season ratings boost.

Producers of Breaking Bad attribute part of the show’s massive popularity to viewers who caught up with the series partway through its run by binge-watching past seasons on Netflix.

HBO helped build momentum behind Game of Thrones in the United States by offering all of the past seasons on its subscription-based video streaming service.

The new deal extends for multiple years, though the companies did not disclose the exact timeframe.

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