45 Years On The Air: The Story Of The Success Of HBOs First Pay TV Channel USA

The most expensive, best rated and, according to critics, serials, exclusive Boxing fights and matches broadcast NHL, NBA and many other events have allowed HBO to increase the number of members with four hundred and fifty million and become one of the largest content providers. Explorer vc.ru studied the history of the most famous cable TV channel. The old pay TV channel HBO aired in 1972. The year before Charles Dolan, the head of the first urban underground cable television system in the United States — came to the Corporation the Time-Life with the idea of a new cable TV channel. The company conducted a survey in several cities on the topic of whether the viewers to pay for TV.

Most flatly refused. A month later the company Time-Life has offered the new terms. Free installation and first month of use as a gift. Half of the respondents were willing to try.

Had to think of a name and start the service. Home Box Office was a working option, but because of the deadline lead Time-Life decided to go on the air with the rough name, and later change it to something else. But it never happened, only later it was shortened to HBO. Broadcasting channel began with a screening of the film “Sometimes a great idea” with Paul Newman and Henry Ford in the lead roles. Immediately after the pictures were broadcast of the NHL game from Madison Square Garden.

The first HBO subscribers for $6 per month were residents of the town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Subscribers were only 365 people, but thanks to them, the channel and began its existence. In 1984, the Central square of the city was set a memorial plaque in recognition of the first viewers.

In the mid 70-ies of the steel cables to be installed even in densely populated areas of American cities, and this coincided with the fact that the Federal government has removed restrictions on the choice of movies and sports broadcasts for TV channels. The number of spectators who chose to pay for cable television services increased from fifty thousand in 1974 to 1.5 million in 1978. By 1975, the number of subscribers HBO has close to one hundred thousand. In the same year the first television network via satellite gave two separate programs for the Eastern and Pacific zones. HBO became the first national cable channel.

In 1976, HBO launched one of the first successful programs “Show Bette Midler”. In 1977, the TV channel received its first profit. And the next year tens of thousands of customers to a competitor — TV channel Showtime.

This happened as a result of transactions between the parent company of a competitor of Viacom and one of the largest operators of cable systems USA. HBO decided to focus on the grid — purchase of new films and show their own “the Shows Young Comedians,” in which, in particular, debuted actor Robin Williams. In 1978, the Time bought for $145 million, the second largest operator of cable systems in the United States in the hope that most customers (675 thousand) of the company will subscribe to HBO. The channel has had money and he was willing to pay for movies more than rival.

HBO got the best films, and as a result, and more subscribers. At this time, for example, the company acquired for $35 million, a cluster of forty paintings Studio MGM. In addition, HBO have invested in the shooting of the new projects in exchange for exclusive rights to the show, despite the fact that the movies could not entertain the fans. The new approach only angered kinobuss, but change that they are unable.

In 1980, HBO presented the second cable channel Cinemax, with a cheaper subscription, and the newcomer became the main competitor Showtime. Later parent company Viacom accused of HBOs the understatement of subscription fees to squeeze a competitor out of business. During the first nine years, the channel was broadcast only in the interval from 15:00 to 00:00.

In 1981, HBO passed on broadcasting. By 1982 the channel had 9.8 million subscribers – about half of all pay TV subscribers and $100 million of income. The channel is three times superior to its main competitor Showtime. For example, for the film “raging bull” HBO paid $1.4 million or about 15 cents per subscriber. While Showtime bought the movie for less than $1 million and a subscriber I was paying more than 30 cents.

The next step HBO was the signing of a contract with Columbia Pictures and CBS to create the first for the last forty years of the new American Studio Tri-Star Pictures. Each company contributed $100 million and HBO has acquired the rights to the show. A year later the number of subscribers approached to 13.5 million, the channel has produced television movies and worked on her own Comedy programs.

In 1983 comes the first created for pay-TV film “the Story of Terry Fox”, filmed for HBO. In the same year, the channel premiered the childrens show “Gorg” (Fraggle Rock). The channel has produced its own childrens programmes until 2001, and after they moved to the broadcasting of another TV channel HBO HBO Family. After all success was 1984 for HBO failure.

For a start, slowed the pace of construction of new cable systems in such important channel to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore. Another reason why the failed year more and more people started buying VCRs in the country dramatically increased the number of stores. With the decrease in the number of subscribers has fallen and the income of the company. All this has led to a change of leadership.

The new Chairman of the Board of Directors Michael J. Fuchs fired 125 employees, the company has invested $20 million in new advertising campaign of the channel, altering the deal with Columbia Pictures. Thus, HBO has lost exclusive rights to show certain films. At the same time the main competitor to Showtime introduced a new rule — the channel has exclusive rights to the movie or not showing it at all (prior to this both channel could buy the rights to broadcast). Prices for movies have increased.

However, in 1986 channel HBO acquired the rights to 125 films with Warner Brothers for $600 million for a period of five years, and 72 pictures MGM for four years. Next year the company bought 85 films Paramount Pictures for five years or more. In the late 80-ies, HBO announced the emergence of a new round-the-clock Comedy channel. At that time, the US has gained popularity of the genre of standup Comedy and polls have shown that audiences are willing to pay for such content.

In November 1989, the Comedy Channel began broadcasting to six million subscribers. However, analysts argued that in order to survive it is necessary not less than twenty million subscribers. In 1990, HBO has invested $38 million in an advertising campaign for the new channel. In the early 90-ies of the analysts predicted the end of the era of pay TV.

However, HBO didnt give up – the user has purchased new licenses for sports broadcasts and launched an active attack on the foreign market. All this has led to an increase in the number of subscribers in 1993 they became 24.7 million. In the mid 90-ies of the HBO heavily invested in shooting films and TV series. In 1997, the channel received ninety nominations for “Emmy” for the first time in television history cable network has been nominated more than broadcast.

HBO quite a bit behind NBC won as many awards. However, the channel has received high praise from critics particularly for comedyy series “Larry Sanders” and the drama “Oz”. All this meant for HBO the final recognition from colleagues, critics and viewers. From the first day, HBO bet on sports.

In addition to the NHL games, the channel was showing the NBA game of the National football League, tennis tournament Wimbledon. The special role of the channel assigned to the box. HBO and Showtime – the two biggest cable TV channel organizing and broadcasting Boxing matches. In particular, HBO has entered into personal contracts with famous boxers Oscar De La Hoa, Lennox Lewis and many other.

In the 80-ies on HBO went to the ring Mike Tyson. However, in the early 90-ies of a boxer gone to the main rival – Showtime. The press wrote that the athlete did not like the criticism of him from HBO commentator Larry Merchant. Manager Tyson asked the TV station to fire a journalist, in response, the Board sent the boxer to a competitor. According to another version of Showtime just bought by the athlete, offering him in 1990 for $120 million in 8-10 battles.

Over the long history of television only a few times were able to organize fights between boxers of competitive channels. One of them was the ring in 2002, Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson. Because of the personal contracts did not take place a fighting boxer Konstantin Tszyu, who had a contract with Showtime, and its main competitors with HBO.

In 1998, HBO showed the pilot episode of the series “Sex in the city”. The film was based on the idea of the author of the eponymous book by candice Bushnell Candice, of which $50 thousand channel has acquired the movie rights. The plot revolves around four single women aged 30+ living in new York. In each new episode, the main characters are faced with issues of relationships, love, friendship and sex, simultaneously discussing them with each other. If at the beginning of the fee of the Actresses was equal and amounted to about $160 thousand, for the fifth season is the amount doubled to $325 thousand per episode.

In addition, the actress Sarah Jessica Parker became a producer of the show, according to some of her fee per episode reached $3 million. For six seasons the series was 54 times nominated for Emmy awards won seven awards, 24 times on the “Golden globe” has become eight times leader in their respective categories, and three of the 11 nominations the show received an award from the screen actors Guild. All the touched series, where he starred in wearing heroine, what they ate, what equipment was used – became popular at the moment. The HBO said that the show opened for audiences shoes Manolo Blahnik, cupcakes and vibrators. The final episode of “Sex and the city”, released on HBO in 2004 gathered at a record for the series number of viewers — 10.6 million.

In 2008 for HBO was filmed a feature film, a sequel to “sex and the city”. With a budget of $65 million in its first weekend the film has managed to collect $55.7 million. Total box office receipts amounted to about $415 million.

Following drama television series after “Oz”, filmed for HBO, was “the Sopranos”. The series launched in 1999, has become one of the most successful and popular in the history of TV channel. According to HBO, the average episode of “the Sopranos” was watched by 18.2 million viewers, a record that managed to beat only for the fourth season of the TV series “Game of thrones” — 18,4 million viewers.

Six seasons, 86 episodes, 21 Emmy, five Golden globes, $2 million for a series – “the Sopranos” was voted one of the best television show USA (second only to “the Simpsons”). The protagonist — Tony Soprano — the Almighty godfather, the head of the mafia clan of Italian descent, who is facing normal life situations and trying to overcome them with the help of a psychiatrist. The series not only raised numerous issues — the integration of the Italian community, the difficulties of the American family, new perspective on the mafia.

“The Sopranos”, according to analysts, were forced to pay more serious attention to the genre of the television series, raising it to the level of a feature film or theatrical performance. In 2013, the writers Guild of America has called the script “the Sopranos” best of all time, TV Guide placed him in the first place as the best series of all time. In 2007, HBO released the latest episode of “the Sopranos”. In 2011, HBO presented a new and currently the highest rated television series – “Game of thrones”.

Based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, the television series in the fantasy genre about a fictional world where the struggle between the clans for the throne of the Kingdom, on the air for six seasons. Just as promised on the channel, will be charged eight seasons, so the record for the viewing of the episode can still be beaten. Each episode of the first season cost HBO $6 million, second season, $7 million, the sixth season — $10 million. In the budget of “Game of thrones” invest Northern Ireland — on its territory is most of the filming.

Investing about $15 million, the countrys Treasury received about $100 million in profits from tourists visiting Northern Ireland after the release of the series on the screen.

However, the most expensive for two HBO miniseries about the Second world war. Launched in 2001, “Brothers in arms” has cost the channel $125 million — $12.5 million per episode. Another $15 million was spent on the promotional campaign. Co-producers of the show were Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. They are the same in 2010 introduced another miniseries — “the Pacific”, the budget which began with $100 million, but cost $200 million.

Each episode cost $18 million to $27 million, as a result, he became the most expensive miniseries in television history. In addition to these series, HBO released “the Customer is always dead”, “Tales from the crypt”, “the Wire”, “Rome”, “Girls”, and many others. One of the last running on the TV series “the Young Pope” about cardinal lenny Belardo — the youngest in the history of the Pope.

The first ten episodes of the season were filmed during three years on the money from the three channels of HBO, Sky Atlantic and Canal+, each of which has invested 40 million euros, part of which came from the European regional development Fund. “Young dad” has been renewed for a second season. Today, HBO includes eight channels, is broadcast in more than 50 countries, the production of channel — movies, programs, TV series — buy more than 150 countries. The subscriber base in the United States exceeds 50 million people worldwide — more than 80 million subscribers in 2015, HBOs revenue was $1.9 billion.

One of the growth drivers of the audience and hits is own production. HBO has long established itself as a producer of quality content. It is in demand around the world. To produce quality products, services, need money. Worldwide, for example, to watch sports broadcasts of important matches, people get cable TV, as it was there presented the most popular content.

In this respect the Russian market is extremely distinctive, historically, there has developed a different attitude to intellectual property products, because of unregulated pirate activities in the 90-ies and the lack of mentality of the concept of “pay TV”. But this situation is changing thanks to the efforts of all market participants – online-cinemas, TV channels, rights holders. For the last few years we have seen growing demand for high-quality VOD products. Like new (transactional model), and a subscription.

For the year 2016 in our service, the demand for TV consumption in subscriptions.

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