HBO’s ad-free channels: good enough to pay more for?

02 Apr,2013

By Meghna Sharma

 

The campaign to promote the launch of two channels – HBO Defined and HBO Hits – by HBO Asia and Eros International Media has started. The premium advertising-free movie channels plan to redefine the pay TV movie space in the country.

 

The channels available on DTH operators – Dish TV and Airtel Digital TV – bring the best of Hollywood and Bollywood together. The channels are currently on air and are available for a free preview in the initial phase of the launch.

 

HBO Defined and HBO Hits will showcase content through HD and SD feeds on Dish TV and SD feed on Airtel Digital TV. These will be offered at a special introductory price of Rs 49 and Rs 69 for SD and HD services, respectively.

 

MxMIndia finds out if there is a market for such ‘premium’ channels in India and if they’ll be survive the competitive market:

 

Anilkumar Sathiraju, AVP and Head South, DDB Mudra Max

While there is a market for ad-free channels, am not too sure how long will they be able to survive. Today, in a scenario where 600+ channels exist, there are many channels which are still yet to make a mark. In that situation, while viewers are likely to sample an ad-free channel(s), I am unsure if they will be able to sustain for long.

 

 

Divya Radhakrishnan, managing partner, Helios Media

HBO is a subscription based channel globally. It started accepting ads due to the distribution structure of the Indian TV industry. Now with digitization and DTH getting seeded across homes in India, the viewers are getting used to pick and pay for their channels and not just a bundled offering from the cable operator.

 

As much as it’s not a good thing to hear for our business, ad avoidance always adds greatly to TV viewing experience especially in the movies and sports space. Hence if reasonably priced, it will have takers in the high-end homes. Mainstream channels in their HD avtaars get talked about more for its minimalistic ads more than the channel clarity.

 

Having said that, the content will need to be extremely compelling for the consumer to shell out more bucks. Old titles, repeated zillion times on TV in the past coming in an ad-free environment may not hold that much appeal however latest releases may do so.

 

Dhruv Jha, GM (Content and Experiences), LodestarUM

There is an emerging space, I have heard consumers/viewers comment, “Let’s watch it on HD, virtually no ads.” Movie viewing experience without ads can be more pleasurable. There is a discerning viewer and with rising incomes and free time being at a premium… pay for channels will start playing in a niche targeted segment.

 

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