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HBO in broadband drive for online viewers

22 января 2008

HBO, the Time Warner-owned cable network, is launching a broadband service in partnership with cable operators as it tries to reach younger viewers who are increasingly watching video online.

The new service, known as HBO on Broadband, makes its debut in the Milwaukee and Green Bay markets of the US.

HBO in broadband drive for online viewers It will feature more than 400 hours of films and television programming, including HBO series such as The Wire and Entourage, which viewers can watch when they please. The programmes cannot be transferred to Apple’s iPod or other portable devices, although that could change.

HBO,a subscription-based network, has been considering a broadband service for more than a year. However, its executives worried that such a move might endanger its longtime relationship with cable television operators.

Their main fear was that viewers watching HBO programmes on the internet might decide to cancel their cable service. To avoid that, they will offer HBO on Broadband only to customers who contract to use their high-speed internet service from a cable operator.

That strategy is similar to the one HBO employed when it introduced its HBO On-Demand service on digital cable in 2001. The service was viewed by many cable operators as an enticement that they could use to convince customers to upgrade from traditional cable to digital cable.

For HBO, it was another effort to make it easier for its customers to watch its programming. Unlike traditional television networks, the company relies not on advertising but on monthly subscriptions. HBO executives have strived to make it as convenient as possible for viewers to access its programming to ensure that they renew their subscriptions each month.

This strategy has become increasingly important with the departure of The Sopranos and Sex and the City.
In their absence, HBO executives are betting on a portfolio of niche programmes, films, documentaries and sports – each with its own devoted fans.

Источник: Financial Times

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