Sky plans to double spending on new shows after 'Chernobyl' hit

Posted June 12, 2019 9:57 a.m. EDT
Updated June 12, 2019 11:04 a.m. EDT

— European broadcaster Sky has announced plans to double its spending on original shows over five years after scoring a major hit with "Chernobyl."

The company said Wednesday that it would also launch a new European production operation, called Sky Studios, with the backing of its new owner Comcast.

Doubling investment on original programming would bring spending to £1 billion ($1.3 billion) a year, according to The Times.

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said that he wants Sky Studios to be the "leading force" in European content development, deepening its competition with rivals including Netflix.

"Our ambition is to make Sky Studios famous for quality content and a place where Europe's top creatives will want to do their best work," Darroch said in a statement.

That means replicating the success of "Chernobyl," a historical drama about the nuclear disaster produced in conjunction with HBO, which like CNN is part of AT&T's WarnerMedia business. The show has been lauded by audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

New era at Sky

Comcast won a protracted bidding war for Sky last year, fending off a challenge from 21st Century Fox and its powerful backer, Disney.

Sky said Wednesday that its new studio operation will produce shows for its own channels and streaming service, as well as Comcast properties NBC and Universal Pictures.

Production will begin next month on Sky Studio's first international project — another HBO co-production called "The Third Day" starring Jude Law.

Traditional broadcasters from around the world are ramping up original content production as they seek to compete with streaming services from Amazon, Netflix and Apple.

In the United States, Disney and WarnerMedia have announced plans for their own streaming services with original series and content from their vast libraries.

Netflix has been investing heavily in new shows, including international and non-English language productions.

The streaming giant is raising prices to help pay for the estimated $15 billion it expected to spend on shows and movies this year.