After deciding to close down its two premium channels, HBO Hits and Defined, in India, broadcast network HBO Asia, owned by HBO Inc, a Time Warner Company, has inked an exclusive programming deal with Star India Pvt Ltd.
The deal provides broadcaster Star India access to HBO's original content which will be aired on Star's English television channels as well as on its online video streaming site/mobile app hotstar. HBO programming is set to debut on the Star network from January 1, 2016.
Fans will be able to watch their favourite HBO Original programmes on hotstar besides English channels Star World and Star World Premiere HD on the same day as the telecast in the United States.
“We have constantly aspired to offer high quality content across genres and languages, and HBO Originals with its outstanding programme bouquet will be yet another quantum leap in delighting and enthralling our viewers,” said Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India Pvt Ltd.
The broadcaster will air popular HBO programmes such as Game of Thrones, True Detective, Silicon Valley, Veep and Leftovers as well as new HBO Original series in the forthcoming season which will include the Martin Scorsese directed series Vinyl scheduled to air on February 14, 2016. Game of Thrones and True Detective were earlier being aired on HBO Defined. Library content such as Entourage, Band of Brothers, The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm will also be made available.
“HBO is delighted to enter this new chapter in India with Star. Through the first release of our shows on hotstar, Indian audiences will now have unprecedented flexibility in how they consume HBO's much loved premium programming,” said Jonathan Spink,CEO, HBO Asia.
In 2013, HBO Asia on the back of the first phase of cable TV digitisation launched its two premium ad free channels – Hits and Defined. Three years after the launch, the broadcaster last month cleared the air on the future of the two channels. While HBO Hits will be rebranded as HBO HD, HBO Defined will be discontinued from December 31, 2015 for Indian audiences. The rebranded channel will be launched in 2016.
Star India is part of 21st Century Fox, the media house controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch also controls News Corp, the parent of this news website.