A Ukrainian viewer can watch HBO’s series House of the Dragon simultaneously with the rest of the world on the Megogo service thanks to a Russian intermediary, but after the end of his contract with NVO on December 31, 2022, this feature will become unavailable, reports The Village Ukraine.
American cable channel HBO and the HBO Max streaming service do not officially work in Ukraine, so Ukrainian OTT services cooperate with licensees who have rights to their content. In Russia, HBO works with the Amediateka service. And already through it, the content of HBO and HBO Max is received by the Ukrainian distributor, which from April 2021 became the Oll.TV service, which was part of Rinat Akhmetov’s media holding Media Group Ukraine.
The exclusive rights to the Oll.TV package were kept until November 2021, when Media Group Ukraine transferred them to another Ukrainian service, Megogo.
On July 22, 2022, Oll.TV stopped working: the service stopped being updated after Rinat Akhmetov decided to leave the media business and transferred the licenses to the channels and editions of Media Group Ukraine.
After the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the parent company of HBO WarnerMedia announced a “suspension of operations” in Russia, and new episodes of major series such as Barry, Our Flag Means Death and We Own This City stopped appearing on Russian services”. However, at the end of June, the Russian service announced the return of exclusive content, including these series, and also announced the premiere of House of the Dragon in August. After the restoration of new HBO series in Amediateka, they began to appear in Ukraine on the Megogo platform.
However, according to The Village Ukraine, the resumption of cooperation with Amediateka was a temporary measure on the part of HBO: in the summer, the Russian service reached an agreement with the American rights holder to work out a valid contract, the term of which coincided with the end of 2022. Accordingly, Amediateka’s contract with Media Group Ukraine has the same duration.
Currently, the extension of the contract between HBO and Amediateka is not known. However, the Ukrainian service Megogo claims that it does not plan to continue cooperation with the channel through intermediaries:
“The Megogo company does not cooperate with the aggressor country of the Russian Federation. We receive American content from the rights holder HBO through the Ukrainian distributor MGU, and this contract will be valid until the end of 2022. In the future, we will show HBO content only if the counterparty is not a Russian company.”
In order for HBO and HBO Max series to appear legally in Ukraine, it is necessary to conclude a contract directly.
“We have repeatedly approached HBO about a direct contract. We have also expressed our desire to participate in the tender for this content and are waiting for an official invitation from the rights holder. We hope that in the future we will be able to cooperate with HBO directly. And we will set an example to other international rights holders that the Ukrainian market is promising and important,” Megogo says.