As digitisation opens the possibilities of subscription revenues for the broadcasters, ad-free channels are making their appearance. In December, HBO Asia and Eros International Media had announced plans to launch two purely subscription-based movie channels. Taking another step in that direction, HBO and Eros have launched HBO Hits and HBO Defined in India on two DTH platforms, Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV.
Interestingly, the network plans to bring in Bollywood content, too, on the channels, along with Hollywood movies and a few TV series. Both channels will be available in HD and SD feeds on Dish TV, while on Airtel Digital, only SD feeds will be offered.
Though the channels are heavily priced at Rs 49 and 69 per month for SD and HD, respectively, HBO Hits and HBO Defined will be available for a free preview in the initial phase of the launch.
The network has strategically launched the channel with the two top players of the DTH industry. Dish TV leads the roost, while Airtel Digital secures second or third position in the market, shuffling places with Tata Sky.
Jonathan Spink, CEO, HBO Asia mentions in an official communiqué that the new channels will reach out to a wide network of subscribers across India.
The channels will offer dual language (English and Hindi) options for select movies, while a promotional offer is also available for subscription of both channels for three months after March 21, when the free preview ends.
Some of the upcoming titles in dual language are Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Journey 2 Mysterious Island.
The network is looking at a high impact marketing spread across multiple cities, and will cover press, outdoor, cinema, social media, and digital media. It will also advertise on Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV channel properties. The campaign will begin during the second week of March.
HBO Defined will primarily show Hollywood movies and will also feature Bollywood premieres first time on Indian TV. Viewers can expect to watch, for the first time in India, premières of movies like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Chakravyuh on HBO DEFINED this March. The HBO Original programmes include Veep, Game of Thrones, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire.
Jyoti Deshpande, executive director, Eros International Media, says, "The quick response from the DTH operators to offer our premium channels to their customer base was a good start for us."