HBO to start beaming in Shanghai

MUMBAI: Pay channel users in Shanghai will be able to receive the US-based movie channel HBO from 1 January, 2005.

This comes in the wake of the cooperation between CCTV, HBO and Shanghai Oriental Cable Network, which will give viewers about 50 films each month.

According to a media report, HBO Asia will begin broadcasting three films a day to Chinese households from 1 January via a nationwide digital television network.

Local digital service providers in more than 70 cities have signed up to carry the "First Theater" channel, said China Digital Television spokeswoman Yang Jihong. "We want to spread the use of digital TV, so we want to have good content. How widespread this service depends on how many people sign up," Yang was quoted in the report as saying.

The movies shown would be picked from among titles considered "appropriate for Chinese viewers." Shanghai's Oriental Cable Television Network has signed up more than 30,000 households for the digital service and expects to have more than 50,000 by the end of the year, the Shanghai Morning Post reported.

This deal comes in the midst of the gradual liberalisation of China's once tightly controlled television market that is allowing foreign broadcasts into ever-growing parts of the country. China Digital Television launched six subscription-based digital channels in August, which include two channels for sports, one each for movies and TV series, and one each for documentaries and music.


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