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HBO tops popularity chart in new survey

By , agencyfaqs! | In | November 19, 2000
HBO has been voted as the most popular television channel by cable operators across Asia, according to a recent survey by Television Asia

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
New Delhi, November 19

Attention media buyers! Before deciding on the media allocation of your clients' ad budgets check this out. While AC Neilsen's Television Rating Points (TRPs) judges channels by viewers' choice, a new survey rates them according to the preferences of cable operators.

Hollywood movie channel HBO has been voted as the "most popular channel" and "best value for money" by cable operators across Asia, according to a recent survey by Television Asia, a Singapore-based affiliate of Broadcasting & Cable International Television group. The first of its kind survey was conducted among 400 cable operators across the Asian region in October. A majority of the respondents were from India, followed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Industry analysts have their own take on this. Some believe HBO topped the rating because of the channel's ownership pattern in the region. Rivals Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Tri-Star), Paramount and Universal Studios have teamed up with Warner Brothers to jointly operate the channel and share revenue.

The final tally looked something like this. While 55 per cent of the respondents chose HBO for best programming, Fashion TV topped the worst programming list with 19 per cent, followed by CNN at 12 per cent and CNBC at 12.8 per cent. HBO was followed by Star Plus' 15 per cent, ESPN with 12.5 per cent and Discovery was a close fourth with 12 per cent.

The most popular channel was also voted as the best value for money. Interestingly, HBO is the most costly of the bunch because it does not carry ads (except in India) and has to rely on subscription revenue.

While HBO, Discovery and AXN were rated as best-on-air channels, CNBC, Hallmark and Cinemax were rated worst in this category. The survey maintained that out of the international channels operating in Asian services, local cable operators appreciated CNBC's efforts the least.


The study threw up some other interesting findings. Sixty two per cent of the respondents have noted that programme values and viewer response was top on their agenda in deciding whether to carry or drop channels. Interestingly, only 8 per cent of the respondents were bothered about the pricing. Fashion TV was criticised for being "adverse to Asian lifestyles" and majority of the respondents said this would be the first to go if they had to prune the bouquet of channels.

Cable operators picked CNN, Fashion TV and CNBC as worst in terms of marketing the channels to operators. There were also requests for Animal Planet to be telecast in Hindi for the Indian market. Also, there were requests for regional language dubbing for HBO, Star Movies and AXN in India.

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