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WarnerMedia, RTL line up German volume deal for RTL+ and first coproduction

Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis in And Just Like That…

US studio WarnerMedia and RTL in Germany have agreed a multi-year volume deal to beef up the latter’s streamer RTL+, as well as setting up their first ever coproduction.

Luxembourg-based RTL Group today confirmed its German unit, RTL Deutschland, has signed an extensive agreement for programming from the US production company Warner Bros Entertainment, part of WarnerMedia.

Under the deal, the German company gets exclusive rights to Warner Bros’ movies and series, including HBO Max originals, to complement the increasing number of German originals on RTL+, effective from March.

In addition, RTL Deutschland will receive exclusive free-to-air TV rights to future feature films and access to Warner Bros’ library of series and movies across all genres.

TV series covered by the pact range from young-adult thrillers and fantasy formats to new sitcoms and library titles, such as Sex & the City: And Just Like That, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory and North & South. Movie franchises such as Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, Aquaman, Batman and Wonder Woman are also in the mix.

RTL said the deal will help it reach new subscribers targets for its streamers, which include RTL+ in Germany and Videoland in the Netherlands. By 2026, the group intends to reach 10 million streaming subscribers; increase content spend to €600m (US$682m) per year and revenue to €1bn; and achieve profitability.

For WarnerMedia, the agreement reflects its twin-track streaming strategy for Europe, which involves a mix of direct-to-consumer via HBO Max in certain markets, such as the Nordics, Spain and CEE, while maintaining content licensing relationships with existing partners like Sky, RTL and Orange in the UK, Germany, Italy and France.

In related news, WarnerMedia and RTL Deutschland are collaborating on a coproduction for the first time with the original six-part miniseries Two Sides of the Abyss, created by Kristin Derfler and starring Anne Ratte-Polle.

The suspenseful cop show follows what happens to a police officer when her daughter’s murderer is released from prison. Produced by Warner Bros International TV Production Deutschland, the series is currently shooting in Cologne and Wuppertal in Germany and in Belgium.

RTL+ has secured the show’s first run in Germany and later RTL Deutschland gets the rights for German free-to-air TV. WarnerMedia’s pay channel Warner TV Serie will show the series on pay TV in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

HBO Max, meanwhile, will launch the series as a Max Original in 61 territories across Europe, the US and Latin America. International distribution outside of these areas will be handled by WarnerMedia International Television Distribution.

Hannes Heyelmann, exec VP of programming EMEA at WarnerMedia, said: “Two Sides of the Abyss is an unsparingly and atmospherically layered thriller that we are confident will resonate both locally in Germany and with HBO Max audiences.”


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