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Game changers: HBO Asia and Eros International

Dec 14 2012, 12:20 IST
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Jonathan Spink of HBO Asia with Kishore Lulla of Eros International Jonathan Spink of HBO Asia with Kishore Lulla of Eros International
SummaryHBO Asia and Eros International aim to redefine pay TV movie space by announcing two advertising free-movie channels in India

To be launched only on digital platforms, we are looking at the subscription fees of Rs.100 per month for both the channels

— Kishore Lulla

HBO Asia, that has a growing network of premium movie channels across 22 territories in Asia, and Eros International Plc have come together to launch two 24-hour premium television channels for India — HBO Defined and HBO Hits. To be launched on digital platforms, these will be advertising-free movie channels showcasing a mix of Hollywood and Bollywood movies.

Due to the absence of advertising funds, the profit sharing revenue model of the channels is based on subscriptions. Kishore Lulla, Executive Chairman, Eros International Plc, says, “These channels are going to be launched only on digital platforms and we are looking at the subscription fees of Rs.100 per month for both the channels. Currently, India has a base of 75 million subscribers and another 100 million will be added by 2016. You will see several players in the premium television space soon and Eros and HBO are the game changers.”

According to Lulla, the beauty of this model is that his company will not be shelling out money on content development because, “HBO and Eros have huge libraries of movies and we are going to capitalise on our assets. The only investment is on setting up of the channels and marketing costs.” While Eros has a library of more than 1000 films (produced and distributed content across languages), HBO, too, has a library of more than 100 films and several original TV series like Sex And The City, Entourage and Game Of Thrones.

Jonathan Spink, CEO, HBO Asia, adds, “The channels will be owned by HBO, while the collaboration with Eros would be for the content. Meanwhile, the HBO movie channel will operate as it is based on advertising model.”

Currently, the collaborators are planning a mix of 70 per cent Hollywood content and 30 per cent of Bollywood content that will be available in HD (High Definition) and SD (Standard Definition) formats. Lulla says, “Last year, the box-office share of Hollywood films in India was four per cent and this year, it jumped to eight per cent and it will only grow further. We will also dub the content in several Indian languages as the digital platform provides language options to the viewer.”

While Eros already syndicates content with other television channels, the company will also

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