HBO targets 25-30% ad revenue growth; inks unique deal with Maruti

MUMBAI: As the English entertainment channel scene gets more competitive, the challenge for the players is to innovate both on the programming and on the advertising side. HBO is looking to do just that.



The channel, which is targetting ad revenue growth of 25-30 per cent for this year, is doing a unique stunt with Maruti. This is for its original film Undefeated which airs on 6 September and deals with the life of a boxer.

Maruti's logo, as the sole sponsor, will appear throughout the film's duration. There will only be one ad break during the entire movie. Says HBO country manager South Asia Shruti Bajpai, "There will also be an opening and a closing spot. Maruti will use the initiative to promote its three brands - Baleno, Swift and Grand Vitara. This is the first time this kind of an initiative will be done by an English movie channel. It allows us to innovate by offering more than just spots. It gives Maruti a superior and exclusive environment."



Bajpai adds that this is a one off deal and is an experiment just like dubbing was last year. HBO will also up the ante as far as original shows are concerned. Till the end of the year, it will introduce an original show almost every month. Earlier this month it had introduced the Western themed Deadwood. The fourth season of Sex And The City is currently airing.

Next month it will kick off Huff. Starring Hank Azaria and Blythe Danner, it deals with a psychiatrist and his family. In October, Carnivale returns for a second season. In December, the channel will air the critically acclaimed six and a half hour mini series Angels In America.



Bajpai says, "We have the raters and the differentiators Our original shows help us to take our content to another level in terms of quality. Not all our shows appeal to everyone. Sex And The City rated well with women but some men did not care for it. The same case will be with Angels In America where some viewers will enjoy its complexity and others will not. There are some viewers that only like our blockbusters. We will be airing The Matrix Revolutions next month. In the coming months we will be airing the second and third installments of The Lord Of The Rings."

Angels In America offers a snapshot of life in New York in 1985. It is split up in two parts - Millennium Approaches and Perestroika. It deals with several themes - homosexuality, aids, alienation, political hypocrisy, fantasy and irreversible change. Al Pacino plays a lawyer who will initially not admit that he is not something as weak as a homosexual. Streep excels in five roles including a rabbi priest and a mother whose lawyer son played by Patrick Wilson comes out of the closet and admits that he is gay.

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