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Production of films (no TV movies)

HBO, an initialism of its full (legal) name Home Box Office, is an American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner. As of December 2010, HBO’s programming reaches 28.6 million subscribers in the United States, making it the largest premium cable network in America (in terms of the number of subscribers). In addition to its U.S. subscriber base, HBO also broadcasts in over 150 countries worldwide.

HBO’s programming consists primarily of theatrically-released motion pictures, along with original series, made-for-cable movies and docum
entaries, and occasional boxing matches.

 Development and launch

In 1965 Charles Dolan, who had already done pioneering work in the commercial use of cables, won a franchise to build a cable system in Lower Manhattan in New York. The new system, which Dolan called "Sterling Manhattan Cable", became the first urban underground cable system in the United States of America. Rather than stringing cable on telephone poles or using microwave antennas to receive the signals, Sterling laid underground cable beneath the streets of Manhattan — because the multitude of tall buildings blocked television signals. In the same year Time Life, Inc. purchased 20 percent of Dolan’s company.

Dolan presented his "Green Channel" idea to Time Life management, and though satellite distribution seemed only a distant possibility at the time, he persuaded Time Life to back him. Soon afterwards, on November 8, 1972, "The Green Channel" became "Home Box Office". HBO began using a network of microwave relay towers to distribute its programming. The first program and film broadcast on HBO, Sometimes a Great Notion, starred Paul Newman and Henry Fonda. It transmitted with a CATV system in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (a plaque commemorating this event is found in Wilkes-Barre’s downtown Public Square). HBO’s first sports event was broadcast immediately afterwards, an NHL hockey game from Madison Square Garden featuring the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks.

Sterling Manhattan Cable lost money because the company had only a small subscriber base of 20,000 customers in Manhattan. Dolan’s media partner, Time Life, Inc., gained 80-percent control of Sterling and decided to pull the plug on the Sterling Manhattan operation. Time Life dropped the Sterling name to become Manhattan Cable Television and gained control of HBO in March 1973. Gerald Levin replaced Dolan as HBO’s President and Chief Executive Officer. In September 1973, Time Life, Inc. completed its acquisition of the pay service. HBO was soon the fastest growing TV pay service in America, but the churn rate was exceptionally high. Subscribers would sample the service for a few weeks, get weary of seeing the same films, and then cancel. HBO was struggling and something had to be done. When HBO first came to Lawrence, Massachusetts, the idea was to allow subscribers to preview the service for free on channel 3. After a month, the service moved to channel 6 and was scrambled. The preview proved popular, obtaining many subscriptions and the concept was used elsewhere.

HBO International

See also


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : Production of films (no TV movies)
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