RUPERT MURDOCH'S Sky gogglebox broadcasting network will partner with US ad-free network Home Box Office (HBO) on the production of television programmes.
The firm revealed its plans in its latest financial report, along with a look at its new EPG programme guide.
The firm had a good viewing year, it said, and enjoyed a lot of customer support for TV catch-up and high definition (HD) TV services. On-demand viewing requests doubled from 2012 to 450 million, while mobile Sky Go views went up from 590 million in 2012 to 1.2 billion last year.
"The rapid growth in on-demand viewing shows just how much customers love watching TV on their own terms - whether that's the latest movies available instantly on demand on their living room TV set or to catch up with last night's new drama series on the way to work," said Sky director of TV Products Luke Bradley-Jones by way of introduction.
"We're passionate about giving our customers their favourite content however they want to watch and will continue to make Sky's connected TV services even bigger and better during 2014, including an enhanced EPG that makes it even easier to find on-demand content."
The deal with HBO extends a relationship that began with Sky's Atlantic channel, which is a cable TV provider by another name. The partnership will take this collaboration forward, and HBO positively gushed over it.
"The deal with Sky was trailblazing in that it served as a model for similar arrangements we entered into around the world, with Sky Atlantic held up as the gold standard," said Home Box Office CEO Richard Plepler.
"The team at Sky are true partners and the extension and expansion of our relationship feels like an obvious next step. We are proud to have HBO programming remain a part of the Sky offering and excited to add to it with our joint undertaking in new production."
The deal means that Sky will get first rights to all HBO content until 2020, so if you like Game of Thrones you might have to consider making a move to Murdoch's Sky network. Other, jointly made television series will follow, and Sky reckons that they might be popular too.
"HBO is synonymous with must-see TV that pushes creative boundaries, so it's no wonder that Sky Atlantic is such a hit with our customers. By expanding our relationship with HBO, we are strengthening our commitment to bring customers the very best content from around the world," said Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch.
"Original production is the natural next step for our partnership with HBO and we are enormously excited at the prospect of working together to realise our shared vision for epic drama of a truly spectacular scale."
Sky's operating profits fell by 16.8 percent last year. During 2013 rival BT carved out a portion of its Premiership football content. µ
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