Why Sky Q and NOW TV are stopping a model new streaming service from coming to your TV
HBO Max is coming to a number of countries across Europe starting October 26th … but viewers in the UK will be missing out. The streaming service, which can compete with Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime Video, provides access to more than 10,000 hours of award-winning shows, including hits like Succession, Game Of Thrones, Mare Of Easttown, The Wire and The White Lotus.
If any of these tracks sound familiar, it’s likely because they are headlining Sky Atlantic in the UK.
Sky Atlantic is a channel that is available on Sky Q and Sky + HD boxes as well as streaming dongles, smart TVs and consoles with a NOW app (formerly NOW TV). Sky Atlantic is a linear channel, although previously aired episodes are available as on-demand box sets for those who prefer to roar. While a number of other services carry Sky channels – the full Sky Cinema and Sky Sports range is available on Virgin Media boxes, for example – Sky Atlantic is not available anywhere else. It remains exclusive to the satellite company’s own services.
That’s because the HBO-created show shows that the air on Sky Atlantic is one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed series on the small screen each year. From the record breaking viewership of Game Of Thrones to the numerous awards garnered by shows like Band Of Brothers and Barry, HBO is a huge influence when it comes to quality television.
Those looking to catch up on these shows, as well as current Warner Bros movies like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, will soon be able to stream them through HBO Max for a flat monthly fee. The streaming service will start in Andorra, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain and Sweden on October 26, 2021. In 2022 a further 14 European countries will get their hands on the service.
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The countries include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. HBO Max is already available in the US, Latin America, and a number of Caribbean regions.
And what about the UK?
Well, anyone who wants to see new episodes of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Succession, or the upcoming reboot of Sex And The City and Just Like That, and the upcoming second series of The White Lotus must subscribe to Sky Q or NOW for the foreseeable future .
Time Warner CEO Jason Kilar has already confirmed that HBO Max cannot launch in the UK, Germany or Italy as HBO material and a number of Warner Bros. content were fully licensed to Sky by 2025 at the earliest.
It’s unclear whether Sky and HBO will renew their partnership before the 2025 deadline, or whether this will be the last time the biggest US shows are exclusive to Sky and NOW viewers in the UK. With the launch of Disney + in the UK, Sky viewers saw a number of on-demand shows disappear from its offering. Children’s channels like Disney Channel, DisneyXD and Disney Junior disappeared from Sky and now appear exclusively on Disney +.
But while those channels are no longer part of Sky Q viewers’ subscription, Disney + can be streamed from your set-top box. Better still, the on-demand subscription service is built deep into the Sky Q menu so that when you search for a movie or actor, the results from the Sky Q and Disney + catalogs appear side-by-side. That should keep you from renting a movie from the Sky Store that happens to be on your Disney + monthly subscription.