52 Facts About HBO Family


HBO Family is the oldest and longest continuously operating subscription television service in the United States.

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HBO Family transmits feeds of its primary and multiplex channels on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules.

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HBO Family maintains a separate feed for the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone—the only American cable-originated television network to offer a timeshift feed for Hawaii viewers—operating a three-hour-delayed version of the primary channel's Pacific Time feed for subscribers of Oceanic Spectrum, which otherwise transmits Pacific Time feeds for the six other HBO Family multiplex channels.

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Cinemax, unlike HBO Family, maintained a 24-hour schedule from its launch, one of the first pay cable services to transmit around-the-clock.

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HBO Family HD is a high definition simulcast feed of HBO Family that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format.

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HBO Family maintains high definition simulcast feeds of its main channel and all six multiplex channels.

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Bob Zitter, then the network's Senior Vice President of Technology Operations, disclosed to Multichannel News in January 2001 that HBO Family elected to delay offering its original series in high definition until there was both sustainable consumer penetration of high-definition television sets and wide accessibility of HDTV equipment on the retail market.

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HBO Family Go is an international TV Everywhere streaming service for broadband subscribers of the linear HBO Family television service.

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Content available on HBO Family Go included theatrically released films and HBO Family original programming .

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The "HBO Family Go" moniker remains in use as the brand for HBO Family's streaming platforms in select European, Latin American and Asian markets.

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Available for $15 per month, HBO Family Now was identical to the former HBO Family Go in terms of content and features.

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New episodes of HBO Family series were made available for streaming on the initial airdate, and usually uploaded at their normal airtime, of their original broadcast on the main linear HBO Family channel.

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HBO Family Max is an over-the-top subscription streaming service operated by Warner Bros.

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HBO Family pioneered the free preview concept—now a standard promotional tool in the pay television industry—in 1973, as a marketing strategy allowing participating television providers to offer a sampling of HBO Family's programming for potential subscribers of the service.

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Cable providers were given permission to offer the unscrambled HBO Family content—aired for a single evening or, beginning in 1981 at the network level, over a two-day weekend —over a local origination channel, though satellite and digital cable providers elected instead to unencrypt the channels corresponding to each HBO Family feed for the preview period.

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HBO Family offers between three and five preview events each year—normally scheduled to coincide with the premiere of a new or returning original series, and in the past, a high-profile special or feature film—to pay television providers for distribution on a voluntary participation basis.

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Currently, these segments air under the HBO Family First Look series of 15-to-20-minute-long documentary-style interstitial specials, which debuted in 1992 and has no set airing schedule.

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HBO Family innovated original entertainment programming for cable television networks, in which a television series, made-for-television movie or entertainment special is developed for and production is primarily, if not exclusively, handled by the channel of its originating broadcast.

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Mainly because it is not beholden to the preferences of advertisers, HBO Family has long been regarded in the entertainment industry for letting program creators maintain full creative autonomy over their projects, allowing them to depict gritty subject matter that—prior to basic cable channels and streaming services deciding to follow the model set by HBO Family and other pay cable services—had not usually been shown on other television platforms.

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HBO Family ventured back into children's programming with its acquisition of first-run broadcast and streaming rights to Sesame Street, a long-running children's television series that had previously aired on the program's longtime broadcaster, PBS, for the vast majority of its run, in a five-year programming and development deal with Sesame Workshop that was announced in August 2015.

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COVID-19-related postponements of newer theatrical releases by its distribution partners caused HBO Family to reduce the frequency of scheduled theatrical premieres in September 2020; since then, the Saturday 8:00 slot has been occupied by premieres of original specials and documentaries and, since late December 2020, airings of older hit movies distributed under library content deals during gap weeks in the monthly premiere schedule.

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Films to which HBO Family maintains traditional telecast and streaming rights will usually be shown on the Cinemax television and streaming platforms during their licensing agreement period .

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From its launch as a regional service, HBO Family purchased broadcast rights to theatrical movies on a per-title basis.

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The network pioneered the pay television industry practice, known as a "pre-buy, " of buying the pay-cable rights to a movie from its releasing studio before it started filming, in exchange for agreeing to pay a specified share of a film's production costs; this allowed HBO Family to maintain exclusivity over film output arrangements and to save money allocated for film acquisitions.

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In 1983, HBO Family entered into three exclusive licensing agreements tied to production financing arrangements involving Tri-Star Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Orion Pictures .

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In early 1984, HBO Family abandoned the exclusivity practice, citing internal research that concluded that subscribers showed indifference to efforts by premium channels to secure rights to studios' full slate of recently released films from to distinguish their programming due to VHS availability preceding pay-cable distribution in the release window.

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Biondi's replacement, Michael J Fuchs, structured some of the subsequent deals as non-exclusive to allow HBO to divert more funding toward co-producing made-for-cable movies, other original programming and theatrical joint ventures .

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In July 1986, the network had signed a three-year output deal with New World Pictures, whereas HBO Family would receive up to 75 New World films Showtime won't, which cost $50 million to sign a deal.

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In December 1986, HBO Family signed a pact with Soviet Union producer Poseidon Films, in order to cover Soviet-based films that covered a non-specific timespan, with the network controlling US and Canada rights.

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In July 1987, HBO Family signed a five-year, $500-million deal for exclusive rights to 85 Paramount Pictures films to have been tentatively released between May 1988 and May 1993.

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Under Nevins, HBO Family's documentaries have won 35 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, 42 Peabody Awards, and 26 Academy Awards as well as 31 individual Primetime Emmy Awards honored to Nevins.

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HBO Family produced a series of informational documentaries in partnership with Consumer Reports starting in 1980, detailing information on subjects encompassing product safety, personal finance and health.

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In November 2008, HBO paid low seven figures for the U S television rights to the Amy Rice–Alicia Sams documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.

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In November 2012, HBO Family aired the four-part documentary, Witness, which devoted each part to one of four conflict regions—Juarez, Libya, South Sudan and Rio de Janeiro—as covered by a team of photojournalists based in those regions.

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In February 2015, HBO Family premiered a six-part documentary from Andrew Jarecki, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, chronicling the mystery surrounding the New York real estate heir's alleged involvement in the unsolved 1982 disappearance of his wife, Kathie Durst; the 2000 execution-style killing of writer Susan Berman; and the 2001 death and dismemberment of Durst's neighbor, Morris Black.

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HBO Family has produced recurring documentary series, among the earliest and most notable being America Undercover, a monthly one-hour series of topical documentaries covering subjects in an un-sensationalized manner.

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HBO Family is noted for its Sports of the 20th Century documentary brand.

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Alongside feature-length movies and other types of original programming, HBO Family has produced original entertainment specials throughout its existence.

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At irregular intervals between 1986 and 2010, HBO Family served as the primary broadcaster of Comic Relief USA fundraising specials to help health and welfare assistance programs focused on America's homeless population.

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HBO Family broadcasts sports-related magazine and documentary series produced by HBO Family Sports, an in-house production division managed by Warner Bros.

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HBO Family Sports has been headed by several well-known television executives over the years, including its founder Steve Powell, Dave Meister, Seth Abraham, and Ross Greenburg.

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HBO Family provided regional coverage of New York Yankees Major League Baseball games for the 1974 season.

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HBO Family representatives contended that regulatory interference over the game broadcasts was prohibited under the First Amendment, and that it offered only weekday games as WPIX held rights to selected Yankees weekend games; it contended the anti-siphoning rules did not apply as there was not a per-program charge for the broadcasts.

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In September 1974, citing the games were unavailable on broadcast television, the FCC gave temporary authorization for HBO Family to carry no more than three of the team's remaining regular season games.

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In July 1975, HBO inaugurated regional coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament for its Mid-Atlantic U S subscribers.

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Since 1977, HBO Family has offered documentary- and interview-based weekly series focusing on athletes and the world of athletics.

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HBO Family Max has used a four-second variant to open films on its main HBO Family content portal since it launched in May 2020.

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HBO Family Europe was launched in Budapest in 1991 in partnership with Sony, which was joined by Disney in 1996.

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HBO Family programs are available as well through the HBO Family Max OTT service.

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HBO Family Asia was released in 1992 in Signapore as a partnership with Singtel and was later joined by Sony and UIP .

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The on-demand video program in Southeast and South Asia is still on the old HBO Family Go platform as of April 2022, while HBO Family Max being planned for launch on 2023.

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HBO Family programs are distributed through agreements with third parties and are available on premium TV channels of local operators: Fox Showcase in Australia, Be 1 in Belgium, HBO Family Canada, Canal + and OCS City in France, Sky Atlantic in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Sky Atlantic in Italy, Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom and Ireland, SoHo in New Zealand, M-Net Binge in Sub-Saharan Africa and OSN First Series in the Middle East and North Africa.

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