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HBO (Home Box Office), which was originally established as a premium cable television channel in the United States, has expanded worldwide. Since 1991, HBO has overseen a number of partnerships that operate HBO-branded television networks around the world. As HBO was launched in new markets, the brand has been used in several countries.
|Founded||November 8, 1972|
|Revenue||US$5.890 billion (2016)|
|US$1.928 billion (2016)|
|Parent||WarnerMedia Entertainment (WarnerMedia)|
While in some countries, it operates using a subscription-based model akin to that of the U.S. service, in others it is offered as a basic cable channel. Although HBO has the right to distribute its original programs for broadcast in other countries, the terms of its licensing agreements with film studios only retains it the right to broadcast them within the United States and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, therefore film rights for the international channels must be licensed separately.
There is one currently HBO-branded channel not operated by WarnerMedia, namely the Canadian version operated by Bell Media as part of its Crave service. HBO also has partnerships with international networks / services that do not carry the HBO branding but with which the channel has major program distribution agreements; several of these are permitted to refer to themselves as the "Home of HBO", such as with Sky Atlantic in parts of Europe, Fox Showcase in Australia, and OCS in France.
HBO Brazil was launched in 1991 as a partnership between Grupo Abril's TVA, Time Warner and Sony. It was developed as an analogue pay channel, but used UHF broadcast frequencies and ran its programming for nine hours each day. After the Brazilian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Grupo Abril sold its share in the network to Time Warner.
Canadian rights to HBO-owned and -distributed programming are held by Bell Media, the mass-media affiliate of telecom company Bell Canada. Programming is offered through Bell's Crave pay TV service, which includes an HBO-branded multiplex channel which launched in 2008 and features the U.S. channel's original programming; the over-the-top Crave streaming service; and Bell's French-language pay TV service Super Écran, along with some of the company's basic French cable channels. Outside of the required brand licensing to use the HBO trademarks and logo, HBO parent WarnerMedia does not have an ownership interest in these services.
The HBO multiplex channel was launched as "HBO Canada" on October 30, 2008 as a joint venture between the regional Canadian pay TV services The Movie Network (now Crave) and Movie Central (now defunct). Prior to that date, both services had regularly featured HBO programming on their other channels, however some programs had aired on (or were later syndicated to) other broadcast or basic cable channels.
Beginning in 2013, most Canadian rights to HBO programming have been consolidated under Bell Media. Bell acquired TMN's parent company in 2013, licensed streaming rights to the HBO back-catalog in 2014, and purchased the distribution rights and subscriber base of Movie Central (which were then assumed by TMN/Crave), as well as additional HBO programming rights, in 2015-16.
Crave also holds Canadian pay/streaming rights to the majority of theatrical films that premiere in the U.S. on HBO, although they air on Crave's other channels, not the Canadian HBO linear channel.
By coincidence, Bell Canada was formerly part-owned by current WarnerMedia parent company AT&T until 1975, however Bell's relationship with HBO predates AT&T's 2018 acquisition of WarnerMedia.
HBO Caribbean offers English-language broadcasts of HBO material geared towards the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean audience. HBO launched the channel to replace the Spanish foreign-language feed, which formerly served the English-speaking Caribbean market. HBO Caribbean is carried on cable providers such as Columbus Communications, Cable Bahamas and Multi-Choice TV.
HBO Latin America (originally known as HBO OLÉ) originated in 1991 as a partnership between Venezuelan broadcaster Omnivisión and HBO. The channel was initially available to cable and satellite providers across Central and South America, and the Caribbean. HBO OLÉ reached a break-even profit by 1993, and had about 500,000 subscribers by 1994; that year, a secondary channel was launched, along with a Portuguese feed for Brazil. Sony, The Walt Disney Company and Universal Pictures later joined the partnership. Omnivisión eventually sold its share in the channel to Time Warner.
HBO Asia was originally co-owned by UIP Pay TV, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner and SingTel. Based in Singapore, it launched in 1993 and initially served only the Philippines and Thailand. HBO Asia expanded to incorporate feeds in Mandarin Chinese, Thai and Bahasa, encompassing 23 countries across Asia.
Middle East and North AfricaEdit
After signing a deal with HBO, on 1 February 2016 U.A.E.-based subscription television provider OSN launched OSN First HD - Home of HBO, a premium channel that specifically airs HBO productions including movies, serials and others. Since OSN's services are pan-regional, the channel is available to multiple countries in the MENA region.
United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy and IrelandEdit
Under a long-term agreement until 2024 between HBO and Sky plc (Comcast), Sky operates Sky Atlantic which broadcasts the majority of HBO's programming. Sky Atlantic is available in the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland and Italy.
In February 2011, Sky Atlantic launched on the Sky platforms in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which maintains a distribution deal with HBO to offer the majority of its programming on the channel. Under the five-year agreement between HBO and Sky, newer HBO programs will air on Sky Atlantic before airing on other television channels within the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Prior to 2011, TG4 in Ireland had a long-term agreement to broadcast HBO programming free-to-air, this ceased following the creation of Sky Atlantic.
On 9 February 2012, HBO Netherlands launched on cable television provider Ziggo as part of a three-channel service with original programs from HBO broadcasting on a one-day delay from the United States. HBO GO was also made available to subscribers of the service. HBO Netherlands was available to subscribers of Ziggo, KPN, UPC, XS4ALL, Telfort, fibre providers Glashart Media and Vodafone Glasvezel and satellite broadcaster CanalDigitaal.
On 28 September 2016, HBO Netherlands announced that it would cease broadcasting on 31 December 2016. Cable company Ziggo has acquired the broadcasting licenses of HBO content for the Dutch market. HBO programs are available on the Video on demand service Ziggo Movies & Series XL.
On November 13, 2008, Orange launched OCS, a five channel package, dedicated to movie and series. Under a long-term agreement between HBO and OCS, the channel OCS City Generation HBO was launched, to distribute the majority of HBO programs in France.
Greece and CyprusEdit
Nova has a long-term agreement with HBO to broadcast the majority of HBO programs in Greece and Cyprus. In 2015, Nova Cinema announced a new output deal with HBO to broadcast the biggest hit series in Greece and Cyprus at the same time with the US. The fifth season of Game of Thrones premiered on 12 April 2015 on HBO and Nova Cinema at the same time.
Malta and GozoEdit
Maltese cable television network Melita More shows several HBO programs in Malta and Gozo since 2011.
HBO Europe was originally launched in Hungary in 1991 on KábelKom, a company that was created in 1991 as a joint venture between HBO parent Time Warner and United Communications International to provide cable television service to Hungary. The channel's programming was originally transmitted via microwave relay (in the same manner as the flagship HBO channel in the United States from 1972 to 1975), due to the economic issues in using satellite delivery to a country with a small population. By late 1994, HBO Hungary had a subscriber base of 160,000 households. Since that point, HBO has expanded into 15 European markets including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Macedonia.
In 2016, HBO launched a standalone streaming service called HBO España, which is the Spanish equivalent of HBO Now and HBO Nordic.
Since September 2015, local premium television channel TVCine e Séries shows the majority of HBO programs in Portugal. A streaming service called HBO Portugal launched in 2019. In 2019, Game of Thrones and Chernobyl were the most viewed on HBO Portugal according to a platform release.
On August 15, 2012, HBO announced plans to launch HBO Nordic, a multiplatform video distribution service serving Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland that was created through a joint venture with Parsifal International. The video on demand service launched in December 2012.
Belgium and LuxembourgEdit
Showcase, an Australian premium television service that launched in 1995, began airing HBO original programming in 2012, through a licensed distribution arrangement with subscription television provider Foxtel. Prior to this, limited HBO content was broadcast through the now-defunct Movie Network, which was founded by HBO (through Time Warner), Village Roadshow, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Disney–ABC International Television.
Sky Movies in New Zealand originally operated as a joint venture between HBO and Sky Network Television. The channel was renamed HBO in 1993; Time Warner later sold its share in the service to Sky in 1998, and renamed it back to Sky Movies. HBO programming is currently shown by Sky channel SoHo, and its subscription streaming service Neon, in New Zealand.
International on-demand servicesEdit
In 2005, the HBO Mobile wireless service launched via Vodafone in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and South Africa, and via SK Telecom in Korea in 2006. In 2006, HBO's subscription video-on-demand service HBO On Demand launched in Israel on HOT, marking the first standalone HBO service to be offered outside the United States. The service launched in the United Kingdom in 2007 via BT Vision, TalkTalk TV and Virgin Media, and then rolled out to Cyprus in 2008 through PrimeTv of PrimeTel Ltd.
- Mesce, Bill (November 18, 2013). "It's Not TV: HBO, The Company That Changed Television: Expanding The Brand (Part 2)". Sound on Sight. Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- "HBO: Home to Groundbreaking Series, Movies, Comedies & Documentaries". HBO.
- "AT&T Inc. Annual Report on Form 10-K for Fiscal Year 2018". February 20, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
Home Box Office licenses its original programming to television networks and OTT services in over 150 countries, including arrangements under which it licenses programming to television networks that are branded as the “Home of HBO” in countries such as the U.K., Australia, France and Germany and as “HBO Canada” in Canada.
- "OSN launches Arabic movie channel, Home of HBO service and H2". 26 January 2016.
- "OSN to offer instant access for HBO fans; launch Saturday Night Live Arabia".
- Jarco Kriek (28 September 2016). "HBO films en series vanaf 2017 in Nederland exclusief bij Ziggo". Totaal TV.
- HBO and 20th Century Fox renew output deal, Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2012.
- Netflix, HBO to battle for Nordic viewers, Reuters, August 16, 2012.
- HBO Nordic Underwhelms Early Adopters, ArcticStartup, January 8, 2013.