'Mummy' at centre of HBO's new year plans

After the promotional big bang that was Band of Brothers, HBO's $ 120 million epic miniseries, the premiere English movie channel kicks off the new year by getting back to what it does best - showcasing Hollywood blockbusters

Premiering on 12 January at 9:30 pm is the 1999 hit Mummy. The adventure romantic comedy is the centrepiece of HBO's promotional plans for the first quarter of the year, Shruti Bajpai, director marketing, HBO South Asia said today.

And following up on a well received effort last year which saw February having Valentine's specials and March witnessing Oscar winners in the run-up to the Oscars, this year will have a similar thematic line-up Bajpai said.

Outlining the year gone by, Bajpai said HBO's India operations achieved nearly twice the ad revenue target that had been set at the beginning of 2001. She said the economic downturn had not adversely affected the channel at all and that there had been no difficulty in filling inventories.

Outlining the success they had achieved, Bajpai said HBO had seen 100 advertisers across various categories buying air time in 2001. Queried about the poor ratings of Band of Brothers in contrast to the kind of promotional push that went behind it, she said the series did very well for the channel because of the quality associations that went with it (Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced the 10-part series).

As far as ratings are concerned, the biggest hit of the year for the channel was the family movie Stuart Little which had a rating of 1.2 (AC Nielsen's TAM data), Bajpai said.

Elaborating on the programming aspect, Bajpai said Indian viewer profile surveys indicate that the popular genres among Indian viewers were action, emotional dramas, and thrillers.

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