Tuesday, October 12, 2021

After Sky in Britain acquires HBO's House of the Dragon there is still silence from Africa's M-Net.

by Thinus Ferreira

After the Sky pay-TV service in the United Kingdom secured the Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon, that will start on HBO's video streaming service in America in 2022, Africa's M-Net is remaining silent about its acquisition plans for the fantasy drama series.

HBO Max released the first teaser trailer for House of the Dragon last week. 

That was followed by Sky announcing that it has secured House of the Dragon for its pay-TV viewers in the United Kingdom, where the series will debut on the Sky Atlantic channel in 2022.

Last week TVwithThinus asked M-Net whether it has done the same and also managed to secure the series for MultiChoice's DStv subscribers in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, in the way that Sky did.

M-Net acknowledged the media query but by a week later didn't provide an answer about House of the Dragon by the time of publication of this report, with the pay-TV broadcaster saying that it would respond "as soon as we have a response".

The prequel series will chronicle the fall of the House of Targaryen when dragons still roamed Westeros in bigger numbers before their virtual extinction during the time of Game of Thrones and the family politics and drama - basically a family civil war - that became known as the legendary "Dance of the Dragons".

It's not yet clear whether MultiChoice's M-Net or Showmax in South Africa might be able to acquire House of the Dragon like it did Game of Thrones.

House of the Dragon is specifically made for HBO Max, that WarnerMedia plans to still roll out globally, similar to Disney+ (coming to South Africa around June 2022 to South Africa), ViacomCBS' Paramount+, and Discovery Inc.'s Discovery+.

Neither Christina Sulebakk, general manager for HBO Max for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, nor Priya Dogra, president of WarnerMedia International, has so far announced any specific launch date yet for HBO Max in sub-Saharan Africa.

That means that similar to Disney+ series like The Mandalorian, South African viewers won't be able to watch House of the Dragon legally even if they want to pay, unless WarnerMedia or HBO does a licensing agreement with M-Net or Showmax.

Johannes Larcher, WarnerMedia's head of HBO Max International, said that HBO Max plans to be available in 190 countries by 2026.