LOS ANGELES — Netflix won a battle for talent in the increasingly heated streaming wars on Wednesday.
In a blow to HBO, Amazon and The Walt Disney Company, the longtime producing partners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the creators of the television juggernaut “Game of Thrones,” signed a deal with the streaming company to create new TV shows and feature films.
Deadline first reported the news, and Netflix confirmed it on Wednesday.
Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss, who started as fiction writers and met each other as graduate students in the 1990s, adapted the George R. R. Martin series of fantasy novels “A Song of Ice and Fire” into the most popular series in HBO’s history. The show consistently generated social-media conversation during its eight-year run while also winning the Emmy in the best drama category three times.
Other suitors for the duo’s services included HBO, Amazon and Disney.
“They are a creative force and have delighted audiences worldwide with their epic storytelling,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “We can’t wait to see what their imaginations will bring to our members.”
In a statement, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff said, “We’ve had a beautiful run with HBO for more than a decade and we’re grateful to everyone there for always making us feel at home.”
They also praised Netflix’s leadership team, saying: “We remember the same shots from the same ‘80s movies; we love the same books; we’re excited about the same storytelling possibilities. Netflix has built something astounding and unprecedented, and we’re honored they invited us to join them.”
The move comes as the streaming wars are ramping up, with entertainment companies allocating billions for fresh content and producers with solid track records in greater demand than ever.
Disney’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, is scheduled to premiere in November. HBO Max, the forthcoming service from Warner Media under its new owner, AT&T, will roll out next year. Apple has also gotten in on the act, with original programs of its own scheduled to make their debuts on a new service, Apple TV, in the next few months.
There is a question of how quickly the “Game of Thrones” producers will be able to devote their full attention to their Netflix duties. Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff are writing and producing a new “Star Wars” movie for Disney.
The two producers had announced a series for HBO in 2017 set in an alternate-history timeline, in which the Confederacy had won the Civil War. News of the series generated extensive online backlash, and doubts were raised about whether it would ever go into production. The Netflix deal all but kills it off.
Before reaching an agreement with Mr. Benioff and Mr. Weiss, Netflix had signed other major writer-producers, including Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.
SOURCE : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/07/business/media/netflix-game-of-thrones.html