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Home Box Office (HBO), a premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner, offers two 24/7 pay television services (HBO and Cinemax) to over 38 million U.S. subscribers in the United States..

The services include the subscription video-on-demand products, HBO On Demand and Cinemax On Demand, as well as multiplex channels and HD feeds. Internationally, the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO Mobile, along with HBO-branded joint ventures, bring its services to over 50 countries. HBO programming is broadcast into over 150 countries worldwide.

History

In 1965 Charles Dolan, who had already done pioneering work in the commercial use of cables, won a franchise to build a cable system in Lower Manhattan in New Yorkmarker. The new system, which Dolan called "Sterling Manhattan Cable", became the first urban underground cable system in the United States of America. Rather than stringing cable on telephone poles and using microwave antennas to receive the signals, Sterling laid underground cable beneath the streets of Manhattan — because the multitude of tall buildings blocked television signals. In the same year Time Life, Inc. purchased 20 percent of Dolan's company.

Dolan presented his "Green Channel" idea to Time Life management, and though satellite distribution seemed only a distant possibility at the time, he persuaded Time Life to back him. Soon afterwards, on November 8, 1972, "The Green Channel" became "Home Box Office". HBO began using a network of microwave relay towers to feed its programming. The first program and film broadcast on HBO, Sometimes a Great Notion, starred Paul Newman and Henry Fonda. It transmitted with a CATV system in Wilkes-Barremarker, Pennsylvaniamarker (a plaque commemorating this event is found in Wilkes-Barre's downtown Public Square). HBO's first sports event was broadcast immediately afterwards, an NHL hockey game from Madison Square Gardenmarker featuring the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks.

Sterling Manhattan Cable lost money because the company had only a small subscriber base of 20,000 customers in Manhattan. Dolan's media partner, Time Life, Inc., gained 80-percent control of Sterling and decided to pull the plug on the Sterling Manhattan operation. Time Life dropped the Sterling name to become Manhattan Cable Television and gained control of HBO in March 1973. Gerald Levin replaced Dolan as HBO's President and Chief Executive Officer. In September 1973 Time Life, Inc. completed its acquisition of the pay service. HBO was soon the fastest growing TV pay service in America, but the churn rate was exceptionally high. Subscribers would sample the service for a few weeks, get weary of seeing the same films, and then cancel. HBO was struggling and something had to be done. When HBO first came to Lawrence, Massachusetts, the idea was to allow subscribers to preview the service for free on channel 3. After a month, the service moved to channel 6 and was scrambled. The preview proved popular, obtaining many subscriptions and the concept was used elsewhere.

In 1973 Time Inc. bought out HBO. When Time merged with Warner Communications in 1989, HBO became part of Time Warner, which as of 2009 continues as its parent company. Warner actually created rival The Movie Channel in the late-1970s before selling it to Viacom a few years later.

On September 30, 1975, HBO became the first TV network to continuously deliver signals via satellite when it showed the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing-match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. HBO switched its domestic satellite transmissions from Westar 1 to Satcom 1 in February 1976 and by 1977 was joined by Ted Turner's WTCG-TV (soon to become WTBS) and Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, laying the foundation for satellite delivery in the modern cable television industry.

The network broadcast only nine hours a day for its first nine years on air, from 3PM to midnight ET. In September 1981, HBO began broadcasting a 24-hour schedule on weekends, until midnight ET on Sunday nights. On December 28, 1981, HBO expanded its programming schedule to 24 hours a day, seven days per week (Cinemax had a 24-hour schedule from its August 1980 sign-on, and Showtime and The Movie Channel went to a 24-hour schedule earlier).

In 1983, HBO's first original movie and the first made-for-pay-TV movie The Terry Fox Story premiered. That year also saw the premiere of the first kids' show broadcast on the channel: Fraggle Rock; HBO continued to air various original programs aimed at children until 2001, when such programs were almost completely moved over to HBO Family. HBO became involved in several legal suits during the 1980s; these involved cable systems and legal statutes imposed by state and city laws that would have censored some programming on HBO and other pay-TV networks.

In January 1986, HBO also became the first satellite network to encrypt its signal from unauthorized viewing by way of the Videocipher II System; and in 1993 became the world's first digitally transmitted television service. Four months later, HBO became a victim of broadcast signal intrusion when a man calling himself "Captain Midnight" intercepted the network's signal during a movie presentation of The Falcon and the Snowman. The Federal Communications Commission subsequently prosecuted the man.

In the late 1980s, HBO launched a short-lived channel, Festival. Festival featured classic movies and current hit movies as well as HBO's specials and documentaries. Distinctively, Festival's programmers aimed to provide family-friendly fare. R-rated movies were edited for broadcast and no low quality themed series, specials and/or movies were shown. Also, the pricing for subscribing to the channel was cheaper than HBO and Cinemax. Only a few cable systems carried Festival and the channel shut down after a year or so.

In 1988, HBO's userbase expanded greatly on account of the Writers Guild of America going on strike; HBO had new programming while standard television channels could only broadcast reruns. In 1989, HBO compared programming against pay-television network Showtime, with the slogan "Nobody Brings it Home Like HBO", using the Tina Turner single Simply the Best.

In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplexing to cable customers. Providing multiple options of HBO and Cinemax instead of just single channel services, these include (HBO2, renamed HBO Plus from 1998 to 2002) and Cinemax (Cinemax 2, from 1998: MoreMax) to three cable systems in Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas. The move proved successful, resulting in HBO and Cinemax launching additional multiplex channels of its service, HBO 3 (launched in 1995, renamed HBO Signature in 1998), HBO Family (launched in 1996), HBO Comedy & HBO Zone (launched in 1999) and HBO Latino, a Latin-themed channel of HBO (launched in 2000). Cinemax also launched the multiplex services Cinemax 3 (launched in 1996, ActionMax in 1998), ThrillerMax (launched in 1998) and WMax, @Max, OuterMax and 5StarMax (all launched in 2001).

HBO.com, subsequently well-known for its online web shows, launched in 1995. In 1999, HBO became the first national cable-TV network to broadcast a high-definition version of its channel. In July 2001, HBO launched the first premium subscription video-on-demand enhancement in the United States of America, called HBO on Demand, to Time Warner Cable subscribers in Columbia, South Carolina. , despite the V-chip, the primary HBO channel still does not run unedited R-rated films or TV-MA rated programming before 8PM/ET, continuing a long-held policy.HBO's multiplex channels will do so (excluding HBO Family, which does not run R-rated films at all and will generally run PG-13 rated films only between 6PM and 6AM).

HBO has developed a reputation for offering very high-quality original programming , which has earned the channel numerous Emmy awards. As a subscription-only service, HBO does not carry normal commercials; this relieves HBO from some pressures to tone down controversial aspects in its programs, thus allowing for explicit themes, such as graphic violence, sex and profanity.

HBO subscribers generally pay for an extra "tier" of service even before paying for the channel itself (though HBO often prices all of its channels together in a single package). However, federal law requires that a cable system allow a person to get just basic cable (local broadcast channels and public, educational, and governmental (PEG) channels) and HBO, without subscribing to expanded service. Cable systems can require the use of a converter box (usually digital) to receive HBO.

Other networks and local syndication have re-aired several HBO programs (usually after some editing), and a number of HBO works have become available on DVD. Since HBO's more successful series, most notably Sex and the City, The Sopranos, and Six Feet Under, go to air on non-cable networks in other countries, such as in the United Kingdommarker, Canadamarker, Australia and much of Europe, HBO programming has the potential of exposure to a higher percentage of the population of those countries as compared to the U.S. Because of the high cost of HBO, many Americans only view HBO programs on DVDs or in basic cable or broadcast syndication, months or even years after the network has first broadcast the programs, and with editing for advertising time and content, although several series have filmed alternate 'clean' scenes meant for syndication runs.

Channels

The HBO pay service consists of seven multiplex channels and a video on demand service (HBO On Demand). HBO also packages the Eastern and Pacific feeds of the main channel together, allowing viewers a second chance to watch the same movie/program three hours later/earlier — depending on their geographic location. However, some cable systems only offer the main channel (and in some cases, HBO2) in this manner.

  • HBO: Popular feature films, first-run films, boxing events and sports specials, original movies, original series, comedy specials and documentaries; debuts new movies on Saturday nights. This channel will only air R-rated films and TV-MA rated programming after 8:00PM/ET, but does air PG-13 rated films during the daytime hours.
  • HBO 2: Secondary channel, features more movies, series, specials and original movies. Airs R-rated films during the day, unlike HBO. The channel was rebranded as "HBO Plus" from 1998 to 2001. In Brazil, it repeats all the movies that original HBO channel plays, and HBO Plus functions as a separate channel.
  • HBO Comedy: Less-serious films and series as well as rebroadcasts of HBO comedy series and specials; airs R-rated films during the day, but only broadcasts adult comedy specials at night.
  • HBO Family: Movies and series aimed at a younger audience as well as films for the whole family; airs series aimed at preschoolers during the morning hours; only airs G- or PG-rated films starting at 12PM ET/PT and airs PG-13 rated films starting in the early evening hours. Uniquely, it is one of only HBO two spin-offs with its own website, along with HBO Latino — all the others are integrated within the main HBO site. This channel will not show R-rated films or TV-MA rated programming.
  • HBO Latino: Spanish-language version of HBO for Spanish-speaking audiences, simulcasting much of the same programming seen on the main channel. Airs HBO productions, including original series dubbed in Spanish, as well as Hollywood blockbusters and Spanish-language films. Also airs boxing events, including the original boxing series Boxeo De Oro. Uniquely, it is one of only HBO two spin-offs with its own website, along with HBO Family — all the others are integrated within the main HBO site.
  • HBO Signature: Quality films, original HBO series and specials geared primarily at women, the channel's target audience. The channel was known as "HBO 3" from 1995 until 1998.
  • HBO Zone: Airs programming aimed at a younger audience, usually 18–35 years of age, as well as adult-oriented programming at night.


HBO HD

HBO simulcasts all seven of its multiplex channels in 1080i high definition.

The HBO family of networks

In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplexed services to cable customers as companions to the main network, offering multiplex services of HBO andCinemax to three cable-systems in Wisconsin, Kansas and Texas. A year later, research fromA.C. Nielsen Co. showed that multiplex delivery of HBO and Cinemax had positive impact on subscriber usage and attitudes, including subscribers’ retention of pay cable subscriptions. HBO2 was launched as a multiplex channel in 1992, launching on these three systems.

In 1995, HBO3 launched, and a year later HBO Family launched, becoming the first family-oriented multiplex service of a premium channel (Showtime, Starz and Encore have similar family-oriented multiplex channels). In April 1998 the HBO multiplex channels became collectively known as "HBO The Works", and the Cinemax channels became known as "MultiMax". Also, HBO2 and HBO3 underwent major rebrands: HBO2 was renamed HBO Plus, and HBO3 became HBO Signature (a network aimed at women). In May of the following year, HBO Comedy & HBO Zone (a network aimed at young adults) were launched and in 2000, HBO Latino, a Latino-themed channel of HBO launched (HBO also offered a Spanish-language enhancement called HBO En Espanol, airing select HBO programs in Spanish via second audio programming (SAP), that launched in 1988). Finally in 2002, HBO Plus reverted back to its original HBO2 name.

The HBO Multiplex became collectively known under the name "HBO The Works" for several years starting in 1998, while the Cinemax channels became known as "MultiMax". the HBO multiplex, individually, has no "official" name. However, HBO and Cinemax's respective multiplex packages are referred collectively as the "HBO/MAX Pak". Subscribers of DirecTV, DISH Network and some cable providers can get the Cinemax networks without subscribing to HBO, though most cable providers offer the two services and their respective multiplexes as a package.

HBO Family

HBO Family launched in 1996 as a family-friendly version of HBO. It was originally launched in 1990 as HBO For Kids and was rebranded under the "HBO Family" name six years later. HBO Family programming consists of educational and original programs for preschoolers from 6am to noon Eastern/Pacific time. Programs during this time include Crashbox, Stuart Little, Harold and the Purple Crayon, A Little Curious, George and Martha, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, I Spy, HBO Storybook Musicals and others. From 12PM/ET to late afternoon, G and PG-rated movies, plus specials are shown. From late afternoons to 6AM/ET, PG-13 rated movies are mixed into the schedule. No R-rated or TV-MA programming is shown. Times may vary depending on which feed (east or west) they are provided by their satellite or cable provider.

HBO Family's on-air look is different from HBO's other multiplexed channels. Between programs, HBO Family provides viewers with previews and previously added graphic text at the end of the spot with the date and time for the next playdate of that program. This was something that the original HBO had done, but now is no longer provided in this format, except for HBO Family which also ended providing the date and time graphic at the end of 2007. Also during the interstitial programming, viewers of HBO Family are shown family-themed short programs and a "HBO Family Feature Presentation"-themed spot before a movie. HBO's primary channel and HBO Family are the only two HBO channels that feature voice-over descriptions during the "coming up next" and "tonight on.." segments.

HBO Family, along with HBO Latino, have the distinction of being the only HBO spin-offs with their own websites; all the others are integrated within the main HBO site. The site includes schedules and more.

HBO on Broadband

In January 2008, HBO launched HBO on Broadband in limited markets. It features 400 hours of movies and original series that can be downloaded to computers. Viewers must be a digital cable customer who subscribes to HBO, and must use their cable company as their internet provider. There is no extra charge for these HBO subscribers for this service. Programming includes 130 movie titles that rotate monthly and top hits ranging from movies, series and specials. Initially, it is only available to Time Warner Cable customers in Green Bay and Milwaukee.

Programming

Original series

Since 1977, HBO has produced original programming, which includes dramas and comedies in addition to its slate of theatrical films. Most of these shows are rated TV-MA, and often feature suggestive themes and high amounts of profanity, violence, and nudity - content that would be much more difficult to get on basic cable channels, for fear of losing sponsors.

Movies

HBO currently has exclusive deals with DreamWorksmarker (which was formerly acquired by Paramount/Viacom), Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios (along with Rogue Pictures and Focus Features), New Line Cinema, and network sister company Warner Bros. (although recently they passed on a package of recent films from Warner Bros. such as The Polar Express, Corpse Bride, and March of the Penguins due to cost, and therefore have bypassed pay-cable altogether and went straight from pay-per-view to broadcast television).

As a result of these limited deals, HBO often fills its late-night schedule with recent B-movies (some of which were never released theatrically) produced by lesser-known, independent companies. On the other hand, HBO also shows sub-runs (runs of films that have already received broadcast network/syndicated television releases) of theatrical films from Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, The Weinstein Company, Touchstone Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Lions Gate Entertainment. HBO also has exclusive pay-cable rights to its own in-house theatrical films made under HBO Films.

In 2003, HBO acquired the exclusive pay-cable rights to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones from Fox and Lucasfilm, Ltd., and during its initial 18-month term of license, aired the movie without first giving it a pay-per-view cable release. HBO also has pay-cable rights to its sequel, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. During negotiations for the pay-cable rights to Clones, a deal to air the entire saga, including the revised DVD version of the original trilogy [IV, V, and VI], was made, and as a result sister network Cinemax became the first U.S. network to air all six films (in turn, HBO had limited pay-cable access to all these movies until the first quarter of 2008).

Usually films which HBO has pay-cable rights will also run on Cinemax during its time of license.

Sports

HBO's first sports broadcast was of a New York Rangers / Vancouver Canucks game, transmitted to a CATV system in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker on November 8, 1972. HBO is known for its boxing match-ups including those shown on HBO World Championship Boxing. In 1975, the "Thrilla in Manila" boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier aired on HBO and was the first program on the pay-cable network to air via satellite. Also in 1975, HBO began airing coverage of Wimbledon and did so until 1999. Coverage has since moved to sister network TNT and later to NBC and ESPN2.

In 1973, HBO aired a World Wide Wrestling Federation event from Madison Square Garden, headlined by George Steele facing Pedro Morales. The event recently showed up as part of the WWE 24/7 on-demand service. During the mid-1970s, HBO aired several NBA and ABA basketball games (notably, the last ABA Final in 1976, between the New York Nets and Denver Nuggets) as well as some NHL hockey games. HBO Sports also aired PBA Bowling events during the 1970s. Dick Stockton was the play by play announcer and Skee Foremsky was the color commentator.

In 1977, HBO launched Inside the NFL, the channel's longest-running program, but cancelled it in February 2008, with rival pay TV network Showtime picking up the series starting in September 2008. HBO launched Boxing After Dark in 1996, showcasing some of boxing's newest talents. HBO currently operates HBO PPV (formerly TVKO) to broadcast boxing matches to pay-per-view subscribers.

In 2001, HBO hired Bob Costas to host a 12-episode sports show called On the Record with Bob Costas. A revamped version of On the Record began in 2005, Costas Now, hosted by Costas, which ended its run in 2009. Both shows are very similar to another HBO sports show called Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that currently runs on the network. The channel debuted another sports show Joe Buck Live, hosted by longtime baseball commentator Joe Buck in 2009. HBO and NFL Films have also jointly produced Hard Knocks, which follows a team in training camp and their preparations for the upcoming NFL season. The series, which first premiered in 2001, returned in August 2009 to document the Cincinnati Bengals.

HBO Sports has been headed by several well-known television executives over the years, including Steve Powell (later head of Programming at ESPN), Dave Meister (later head of The Tennis Channel), Seth Abraham (later head of Madison Square Garden Sports) and current President, Ross Greenburg.

Documentaries

Many of HBO's documentary series appear under the America Undercover brand. Among the regular AU features are Real Sex and Autopsy.

In 2004, guided by human rights activist Ansar Burney, an HBO team for Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel used a hidden camera to document slavery and torture in secret desert camps where boys under the age of five were trained to race camels, a national sport in the United Arab Emiratesmarker (UAE). This half-hour investigative report exposed a carefully hidden child slavery ring that bought or kidnapped hundreds of young boys in Pakistanmarker and Bangladeshmarker. These boys were then forced to become camel jockeys in the UAE. The report also questioned the sincerity of U.S. diplomacy in pressuring an ally, the UAE, to comply with its own stated policy of banning the use of children under 15 from camel racing.

The documentary won a Sports Emmy Award in 2004 for "Outstanding Sports Journalism" and the 2006 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for outstanding broadcast journalism. It also brought world attention to the plight of child camel jockeys in the Middle East and helped Ansar Burney Trust to convince the governments of Qatarmarker and the UAE to end the use of children in this sport.

HBO is also noted for its "Sports of the 20th century" documentary brand. One of its most recent documentaries was "Dare to Dream" about the U.S. Women's Soccer Team and their effort to make a difference. This documentary featured Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Brandi Chastain, Joy Fawcett, and Julie Foudy.

In 2006, film director Spike Lee made a four-hour documentary on Hurricane Katrina called When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, which was broken up into two parts. Also in 2006, documentary artist Lauren Greenfield directed a feature length film about four young women struggling with eating disorders in the Renfrew Clinic in Florida, called Thin.

In November 2008, HBO paid low seven figures for U.S. TV rights to Amy Rice and Alicia Sams's documentary, "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama". It covers Obama's 2006 trip to Africa, his presidential primary campaign, the 2008 general election and his inauguration. The documentary has been released to theatres in New York and Los Angeles and will air in November 2009.

Branding

When the network launched in 1972, HBO identified itself with a still image of the text "HOME BOX OFFICE". In 1975 it began using an uppercase 'HBO' with a circle inside the 'O'. However for the first few years, the logo featured the 'O' cutting into the 'B'. The logo was modified in 1980 (not completely replacing the original until 1981) when HBO started using the current version of the logo with the 'B' and the 'O' still attached to each other but with the 'O' no longer intercutting the 'B'. The simplicity of the logo makes it fairly easy to duplicate, something HBO has taken advantage of many times over the years.

The logo became iconic due to what is perhaps the network's most famous program introduction "HBO in Space," used from 1982 until 1999, and was produced by Liberty Studios of New York City in 1982 and debuted on the network later that year. The original full version begins with a look in a window at a family (sometimes only a husband and wife) sitting down to watch TV (that part was later replaced with a cloudscape). It then pans and flies through a cityscape and into the countryside and then moves up into outer space, where a starburst appears and the HBO logo (in starship form) appears and rotates toward the camera before multi-colored beams move around the "O" and take the camera inside it, where the type of program is revealed (generally the feature presentation). Several versions of the intro appear on YouTube, including one posted by HBO's official YouTube channel. The accompanying fanfare, originally composed by Ferdinand J. Smith for Score Productions, has become a musical logo for the network with numerous re-orchestrations of this fanfare being used, varying from the traditional horns to piano. The current feature presentation bumper uses a re-orchestrated (and slightly warped) version of this theme.

Another famous HBO ID was "Neon Lights" used for non-primetime movies airing from 7AM-8PM, from 1987 to 1999. Unlike its "Space" counterpart, this ID was entirely CGI. The sequence, set to an electric guitar theme, begins with a purple HBO logo on a vertical filmstrip as light rays shoot through it, the camera then pans around several CG slots glowing in blue, green and pink until a light flash hits several spheres glowing in various rainbow colors. The spheres zoom out forming the HBO logo in light purple with "Movie" written in cursive in a raspberry-like color with the rainbow spheres on a black background behind the words.

The current HBO "Feature Presentation" bumper used since 1999 also uses CGI graphics. The version seen every day features the camera flying over ground as spotlights rapidly turn on, one by one. The camera suddenly slows, begins to face the "ground" and reveals a HBO logo-shaped lake, and the words "Feature Presentation" appear one by one, in 3D. The full version only seen during Saturday night movie premieres, begins on a city street, showing a movie theatre marquee which reads "HBO FEATURE PRESENTATION" in all caps. The camera zooms into a box office booth and then flashes, changes scenery and zooms through a country road passing under a "H"-shaped tower, then a snowy mountain road jumping over a drop-down cliff, and goes through a "B"-shaped tunnel on the other side, then rapidly coming upon a desert road catching up to a "O"-shaped tanker truck. It then appears in a urban neighborhood with skyscrapers visible in the background passing by houses and stores, and a city bus. The road becomes a bridge, coming upon the downtown of the city, bypassing the buildings seen eariler. The same animation that is seen in the more common shorter version then plays as usual.

HBO bucks the general trend in pay-TV networks (including the themed networks of sister channel Cinemax) and does not brand programming with digital on-screen graphic logos of the main network and each respective theme channel.

Slogans

Source:

  • 1972-1975: "This is HBO, the Home Box Office"
  • 1975-1976: "Different and First"
  • 1976-1978: "The Great Entertainment Alternative"
  • 1978-1980: "The Home Box"
  • 1980-1982: "HBO People Don't Miss Out"
  • 1982-1983: "Start with Us on HBO"
  • 1983-1986: "There's No Place Like HBO"
  • 1986-1988: "Let's All Get Together"
  • 1988-1989: "Watch Us Here on HBO"
  • 1989-1990: "Nobody Brings It Home Like HBO"
  • 1989-1992: "Simply The Best"/"The Best Movies", used song by Tina Turner as image theme
  • 1992-1993: "We're HBO"
  • 1993-1995: "We're Out of Town Today"
  • 1995-1997: "Something Special's On"
  • 1997-2009: "It's Not TV. It's HBO"
  • 2006-2009: "Get More" (slogan for the HBO website)
  • 2009-present: "It's More Than You Imagined. It's HBO"


Other ventures

HBO has expanded considerably with its HBO and Cinemax family of networks as well as influencing television- and film-production.

In 1990, HBO launched HBO Independent Productions, a production company that produced mainly sitcoms for broadcast and basic cable television, including Martin and Everybody Loves Raymond. HBO Downtown Productions launched a year later, producing comedy specials for the network as well as content for Comedy Central (which HBO formerly co-owned).

HBO also operates HBO Films, established in 1999 as a reconfiguration and consolidation of its former movie divisions, HBO NYC Productions and HBO Pictures. HBO also operated another film-division called HBO Showcase, which ceased in 1996 to become HBO NYC Productions.

HBO has participated in a number of joint ventures:

  • TriStar Pictures: In 1982, HBO joint-ventured with Columbia Pictures and CBS to form a motion picture studio: Tri-Star (the hyphen disappeared later). HBO, CBS and Columbia decided to pool resources to split the ever-growing costs of making movies. Their first release, The Natural, appeared in 1984. Their second movie, a remake of the 1960 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture Where the Boys Are, flopped. CBS dropped out of the venture in 1984. In April 1987, Tri-Star entered into the television business as Tri-Star Television. In December 1987, HBO dropped out of the Tri-Star venture and Columbia Pictures bought their venture shares and merged Columbia and Tri-Star into Columbia Pictures Entertainment. Sony Pictures Entertainment continues to use the name "TriStar".
  • In 2005, HBO Films and New Line Cinema launched Picturehouse, a worldwide theatrical distribution company for high-quality independent films. The company shut down in 2008 as part of the consolidation of New Line with its sister studio Warner Bros.


Merchandising

Various products have used the HBO trademark. In 2005, HBO launched a deal with Cingular Wireless (now AT&T) to establish HBO Mobile. HBO Mobile, a pay service feature much like the cable network itself, features information on HBO original series such as The Sopranos, Sex and the City and others, including episode guides, wallpapers and ringtones voiced by cast-members of HBO series.

In 2005, a version of the DVD interactive game Scene It was released tailored to the HBO network itself. It features trivia on various HBO series.

International

See also: HBO Latin America Group
Since 1991, HBO has overseen a number of partnerships that operate HBO-branded programming-networks around the globe, such as HBO Asia, HBO Brasil, HBO Czech, HBO Hungary, HBO OLE (now HBO Latin America), HBO Romania and HBO Adria (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, and Montenegro).

In 2005, the HBO Mobile wireless service launched via Vodafone in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and South Africa, and via SK Telecom in Korea in 2006. In 2006, HBO's SVOD service, HBO On Demand, launched in Israel on Jasmine TV, marking the first HBO stand-alone service offered outside the U.S. The service was launched in the UK in 2007 via BT Vision, Tiscali TV and Virgin Media. Following in 2008 was Cyprus launching HBO On Demand via PrimeTv of PrimeTel Ltd.

On October 30, 2008 Canadian premium channels Movie Central and The Movie Network launched HBO Canada, a dedicated multiplex channel carried on both services; however it is not owned by Time Warner nor is it a shareholder in the channel, though the respective parent companies of both channels, Astral Media (owner of Movie Central) and Corus Entertainment (owner of The Movie Network) license HBO's name and logo from Time Warner and the channel carries HBO's original programming (though some programming on the network also includes programs that air in the United States on HBO's rival Showtime) and also airs a selection of Canadian films and series also airs to satisfy Canadian content requirements.

Festival

Example of Festival guide


In the late 1980s, HBO launched a short-lived channel called "Festival". It featured classic movies and current hit movies as well as HBO's specials & documentaries. The difference with Festival was that it was family friendly programmed. R rated movies were edited before airing on Festival and no low quality themed programs/movies were shown. Also, the subscription for the channel was priced lower than HBO and Cinemax. Festival provided its' subscribers with a nicely printed 20-page, monthly color guide. Festival, also, showed free previews like HBO such as the October 30-November 2, 1987 previews which were hosted by Tony Randall during the breaks. Festival's slogan was Quality Entertainment You Welcome Home. Unfortunately, only a few cable systems carried Festival and the channel went dark after a year or so.

In 1996, HBO re-entered the family premium channel arena with HBO Family, a channel similar to Festival.

Programming on Festival included:

  • Hollywood Classics - Fondly remembered movies from the great studios
  • Star Salutes - Collection of movies from a selected movie star
  • Centerstage - "Here's Your Front Row Seat for Great Entertainment" which included: Concerts such as Olivia Newton John, Carly Simon, Fats Domino, etc. Comedy with Jackie Mason, Red Skelton, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, etc. (no offensive comedy). Ice skating shows.
  • Documentaries - Nature shows, biographies, etc.
  • Current hit movies - Also commercial free, however, R-rated movies that were shown were edited to fit a "PG" rating for the Festival channel.


Carriage controversies

On July 13, 2007, satellite-television provider DirecTV published a press release that claimed it would add the HD versions of HBO 2 (West), HBO 2 (East), HBO Family (East), HBO Family (West), HBO Latino and HBO Signature in September 2007. The claim has yet to be fulfilled. DirecTV also does not carry either HBO Comedy or HBO Zone.

As a comparison, all of the Showtime channels and most of the Starz channels that DirecTV offers are available in HD. (Coincidentally, Starz Entertainment and The DirecTV Group are both owned by Liberty Media).

See also



References

  1. http://www.timewarner.com/corp/businesses/detail/hbo/index.html/
  2. Time Warner: HBO. Home Box Office
  3. Home Box Office early transmissions
  4. HBO Soundtrack:Home Box Office 5 Years - Nov 1977 HBO Guide
  5. FCC History of Communications
  6. Time Inc.-Our History
  7. Communications History- Home Box Office
  8. About Fraggle Rock
  9. TVARK - The Online Television Museum: HBO
  10. HBO Schedule: Primary HBO channel
  11. HBO Family schedule website
  12. FCC Consumer Facts
  13. HBO Family Schedule: Grid View
  14. HBO Family news release with launch year
  15. HBO Family channel on-air
  16. It's not TV, it's HBO — on your computer
  17. HBO on Broadband in Restricted Rollout
  18. YouTube - 1974 PBA New Jersey Open Introduction
  19. HBO Hard Knocks
  20. Variety
  21. Hollywood Reporter
  22. [1]
  23. YouTube: HBO Intro - Behind the Scenes
  24. YouTube - HBO 1983 Intro (HBO)
  25. YouTube-HBO Movie (1980's)
  26. YouTube-HBO Feature Presentation: 1999 version
  27. HBO on-air programming
  28. Youtube clip of HBO slogans
  29. Various publications from 1980 including People, TV Guide as well as YouTube Retrieved December 12, 2008
  30. Festival program guide
  31. DirecTV Press Release July 13, 2007 DIRECTV to Offer 11 HBO/Cinemax Channels in HD
  32. DirecTV Official Site - HBO package information
  33. DirecTV Official Site - Showtime Unlimited Information
  34. DirecTV Official Site - Starz Super Pack Information


External links

HBO International




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