Home Box Office

Home Box Office (HBO) is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by Time Warner through its respective flagship company Home Box Office, Inc. Programming featured on the network consists primarily of theatrically released motion pictures and original television series, along with made-for-cable movies and documentaries, boxing matches, and occasional stand-up comedy and concert specials.home box office 1Originally, Home Box Office was to debut on a Service Electric cable television system in Allentown; in order to avoid blackouts for NBA games that it was set to televise (Allentown was within the NBA’s designated blackout radius for the Philadelphia 76ers’ market area, under rules that the league had in effect at the time to protect ticket sales), Time-Life agreed to an offer by Service Electric president John Walson to launch the channel on its system in Wilkes-Barre (outside of the 76ers’ DMA, in northeastern Pennsylvania). Home Box Office launched on November 8, 1972. However, HBO’s launch came without fanfare in the press, as it was not covered by any local or national media outlets. In addition, the city manager of Wilkes-Barre declined an offer to attend the launch ceremony, while Time Inc. president and chief executive officer J. Richard Munro was unable to attend as he was stranded in traffic while trying to exit Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge on his way to Wilkes-Barre.home box office 2To gauge whether consumers would be interested in subscribing to a pay television service, Time-Life sent out a direct-mail research brochure to residents in six U.S. cities. An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (approximately 99%) opposed the idea; 4% of those polled in a second survey, conducted by an independent consultant, said they were “almost certain” to subscribe to such a service. Time-Life later conducted a test in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in which salesmen presented the concept of a pay cable channel to residents by offering free service for the first month and a refundable installation fee; half of residents surveyed in the test expressed interest in purchasing the conceptual service. In a meeting of Dolan and some Time-Life executives who were working on the project, various other names were discussed for the new service. They ultimately settled on calling it “Home Box Office”, although the name was originally intended as a working title in order to meet deadlines to publish research brochures for the new service, with the belief that management would come up with a different name later.home box office 3Sterling Manhattan Cable continued to lose money because the company had only a small subscriber base of 20,000 customers in Manhattan. Dolan’s media partner, Time-Life, Inc., gained control of Sterling when it acquired an additional 60% equity interest, increasing its stake in the company to 80%; Time-Life then decided to pull the plug on the Sterling Manhattan operation. Time-Life dropped the “Sterling” name and the company was renamed “Manhattan Cable Television” under Time-Life’s control in March 1973. Gerald Levin, who had been with Home Box Office since it began operations as its vice president of programming, replaced Dolan as the company’s president and chief executive officer.home box office 4HBO broadcasts its primary and multiplex channels on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules. The respective coastal feeds of each channel are usually packaged together (though most cable providers only offer the east and west coast feeds of the main HBO channel, as well as HBO2 in some cases), resulting in the difference in local airtimes for a particular movie or program between two geographic locations being three hours at most. The premium film service Cinemax, which is also owned by Time Warner through Home Box Office Inc., operates as a separate service from HBO; although HBO is very frequently sold together in a package with Cinemax, subscribers to one of the services do not necessarily have to subscribe to the other.home box office 5When HBO launched in 1972, its original logo was merely consisted of the “Home Box Office” name and a ticket stub surrounded by a lighted marquee. The original version of its current logo (designed by Bemis Balkind) was introduced in 1975, using an uppercase bold “HBO” text with a circle inside the ‘O’, which in turn cuts into the ‘B’. The logo was modified in 1980 (although it did not completely replace the original version until 1981), with the ‘B’ and the ‘O’ becoming full letterforms, albeit continuing to be attached to each other. The simplicity of the logo makes it fairly easy to duplicate, something HBO has taken advantage of many times over the years.home box office 6Some conservatives have expressed criticism of HBO’s original programming in recent years, contending that there is a strong liberal bias at Home Box Office, Inc.’s corporate level. These critics also claim that producers of HBO’s programs tend to interject a liberal bias into storylines or favor progressive themes. A 2012 study conducted by Buyology – to which a representative stated had used a “timed response” methodology to “gauge gut, emotional responses” – suggested that certain programs on HBO and rival premium service Showtime were more well-liked by Democratic voters compared to Republicans. HBO management has denied allegations that it exhibits a political agenda in its programming.home box office 7With its HBO and Cinemax services, Home Box Office, Inc. is at the vanguard of creating and delivering groundbreaking original programming and hit Hollywood films to consumers worldwide across a wide range of platforms and offerings.home box office 8HBO is home to the most talked about programs on television – from groundbreaking series, films, documentaries and sports to the biggest blockbuster movies available anywhere. And it's never been easier to watch HBO programs – when you want, where you want.home box office 9Festival, whose on-air slogan was Quality Entertainment You Welcome Home, had also broadcast collections of feature films featuring a particular movie star (known as “Star Salutes”). What differed Festival from HBO was that the former channel was programmed as a family-oriented service. Atypical for a premium service, Festival featured edited versions of R-rated movies that were recut in order to fit a PG rating and allowed only high-quality series, specials and movies to be broadcast on the channel’s schedule.

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