Bell Media has an agreement with Warner Bros.for the U.S. streaming service HBO Max. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Bell Media bolsters Crave’s streaming library under new deal with HBO Max

TORONTO — Bell Media says it’s struck an agreement with Warner Bros. to acquire the exclusive Canadian rights for original TV shows made for upcoming U.S. streaming service HBO Max.

The media giant says the ”long-term” pact will secure a fresh selection of programming to help its Crave platform compete in an increasingly crowded streaming market, which includes the arrival of Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus in November.

Titles in the deal, which begins next year, include an update to “Gossip Girl,” DC Comics series “Green Lantern,” and “Dune: The Sisterhood,” a project from Quebec director Denis Villeneuve that’s set in the universe of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novels.

Bell Media’s agreement also confirms that HBO Max, a platform operated by WarnerMedia that launches next year, won’t be headed to Canada as a standalone option.

Instead, Bell Media president Randy Lennox says TV series produced by Warner for HBO Max will mostly land on the HBO premium tier of its Crave streaming service. He says the new agreement won’t lead to raising its monthly subscription price.

As the streaming wars intensify, exclusive content has become a valuable asset for all of the major players, including Netflix and Amazon who have invested billions of dollars in making new shows and films to draw more subscribers.

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