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HBO, Eros form alliance to launch two pay movie channels in India

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 07, 2012
While the channels will have a mix of both Hollywood and Bollywood movie content, they will also look to develop HBO's existing formats for India and create original content.

Digitisation of the Indian broadcasting space has infused hope amongst many international players who clearly want to move beyond their over-dependence on advertising monies and squeeze more out of pay.

So, while recently Disney decided to tap the Indy-kids TV space with the freshly-launched ad-free channel (Disney Junior India) which will earn through subscription, HBO Asia, too, seems to have settled on a similar route.

Jonathan Spink and Kishore Lulla

The regional pay TV leader has collaborated with the Indian film entertainment company Eros International to launch two premium ad-free pay movie channels to tap into the growing pay TV viewing segment of India.

Named HBO Defined and HBO Hits, the content of the channels will also be dubbed in regional languages. While the channels will have a mix of both Hollywood and Bollywood content, they will also look to develop HBO's existing formats for India and create original content, both for the Indian television market and international distribution.

Speaking to afaqs!, Jonathan Spink, CEO, HBO Asia, says, "The channels are specially tailored for the Indian viewers. We feel that the time is right for giving viewers the choice of advertising-free service. There is a section of people who will pay for watching a multiplex movie environment at home: the best of movies, with no interruptions, and we want to tap into them."

The channels will be launched in early 2013. To begin with, they will be carried only on digital TV platforms. "We are in talks with multiple DTH operators and will announce our launch plans soon," he adds.

Shruti Bajpai, country manager, HBO Asia will manage the channels' operations within India.

Kishore Lulla, executive chairman of Eros International, says in an official communiqué, "We look forward to cultivating new spaces together in India, especially the development of HBO content for TV and online."

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