31 Facts About HBO

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

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2. HBO pioneered modern pay television upon its launch on November 8, 1972: it was the first television service to be directly transmitted and distributed to individual cable television systems, and was the conceptual blueprint for the "premium channel," pay television services sold to subscribers for an extra monthly fee that do not accept traditional advertising and present their programming without editing for objectionable material.

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3. HBO 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 multiplex channels.

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

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

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6. HBO began transmitting a high definition simulcast feed on March 6, 1999, becoming the first American cable television network to begin simulcast their programming in the format.

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7. Bob Zitter, then the network's Senior Vice President of Technology Operations, disclosed to Multichannel News in January 2001 that HBO 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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8. On January 3, 2011, HBO became the first pay television network to offer VOD content in 3D; initially available to linear HBO subscribers signed with Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Verizon FiOS, 3D content consisted of theatrical feature films available in the format.

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

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10. Content available on HBO Go included theatrically released films and HBO original programming (including scripted series, made-for-cable movies, comedy specials, documentaries, and sports documentary and magazine programs).

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

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12. On October 15, 2014, HBO announced plans to launch an OTT subscription streaming service in 2015, which would be distributed as a standalone offering that does not require an existing television subscription to access content.

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13. HBO 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's programming for potential subscribers of the service.

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14. Films to which HBO 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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15. From its launch as a regional service, HBO purchased broadcast rights to theatrical movies on a per-title basis.

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16. In early 1984, HBO 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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17. In December 1986, HBO 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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18. In July 1987, HBO 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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19. HBO 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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20. In November 2008, HBO paid low seven figures for the US television rights to the Amy Rice–Alicia Sams documentary By the People: The Election of Barack Obama.

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21. In November 2012, HBO 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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22. Vice was cancelled on February 1, 2019, as part of a broader corporate reorganization at Vice Media; a companion daily news show, Vice News Tonight, was cancelled on June 10, 2019, when HBO announced it would be terminating its seven-year partnership with the company.

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23. Regular comedy specials on HBO began on December 31, 1975, with the premiere of An Evening with Robert Klein, the first of nine HBO stand-up specials that the comic headlined over 35 years.

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24. At irregular intervals between 1986 and 2010, HBO 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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25. In March 1973, HBO signed a $1.5-million contract to acquire the regional rights to a selection of American Basketball Association games for five years; notably, it carried the 1976 ABA Finals—the league's last tournament game prior to the completion of its merger with the NBA—a six-game tournament in which the New York Nets beat the Denver Nuggets four games to two.

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

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

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28. HBO expanded its boxing slate on February 3, 1996, when HBO Boxing After Dark premiered with title fights involving contenders in the junior featherweight (Marco Antonio Barrera vs Kennedy McKinney) and junior bantamweight (Johnny Tapia vs Giovanni Andrade) classes.

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29. On September 22, 1977, HBO premiered the channel's first original weekly series, and its first sports-related documentary and analysis series, Inside the NFL, a program that featured post-game highlights and analysis of the previous week's marquee National Football League games as well as interviews with players, coaches and team management.

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30. Inside the NFL would go on to become the network's longest-running program, airing for 30 seasons until it ended its HBO run in February 2008.

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

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