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HBO bets big on original mini-series; to air ‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’ minus commercial breaks

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HBO bets big on original mini-series; to air ‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’ minus commercial breaks

Riding high on the success of mini-series like ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Band of Brothers’, HBO is now focusing more on these original offerings. The channel will be airing a two-part mini-series called ‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’ back-to-back on December 26 at 9 pm, with an encore of the entire two-part mini-series on December 30 at 4 pm.

Shruti Bajpai, Country Manager, HBO South Asia, said, “We are very happy to announce the launch of the new original mini-series, ‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’, which is to mark the second anniversary of the deadly tsunami that struck South East Asia on December 26, 2004. We believe a story like this would transcend people across all nations. It is interspersed with human emotions. HBO as a channel takes a lot of pride in great quality productions made out of true incidents.”

‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’ is presented by HBO Films in association with the BBC, a Kudos Film and Television Production. Directed by Bharat Nalluri (‘Spooks’, ‘Life on Mars’) from a script by Abi Morgan (‘Sex Traffic’), and produced by Finola Dwyer (‘The Hamburg Cell’), the mini-series is executive produced by Jane Featherstone and Derek Wax for Kudos; Abi Morgan is also an executive producer.

Based on extensive research and interviews by writer Morgan Abi, ‘Tsunami - The Aftermath’ will highlight the endeavours of the people who came together in the aftermath of the tsunami to cope with their losses and try to help one another rebuild their lives.

Filmed on location in Phuket and Khao Lak, Thailand, the production has had the support and collaborative cooperation of the local governments and communities. Local residents were interviewed for their input prior to production, and the Thai production company, Santa Film, acted as advisor throughout filming.

The mini-series will not have any commercial breaks. Said Bajpai, “We don’t want to break the pace of the show. The motive of profit is secondary, it is not correct to break the rhythm of the show.”

According to HBO, the year 2006 has been a great year, and success was attributed to three strategies – the attempt to showcase big blockbusters, innovation through different themes, and the focus on original productions.

Going forward, HBO’s mantra in the coming year is going to be bigger and better. Said Bajpai, “Our mantra for 2006 was ‘Big, New, Most’. Our focus next year will be bigger and better. As a part of this, we will bring the biggest and latest Hollywood blockbusters to our viewers. 2007 will begin on a big note. We will better our HBO Original offering by bringing in 4-5 HBO Original series next year. In addition to this, we will also continue to bring the very best of HBO Original content with new movies created for the network.”

This apart, throughout the year the channel will showcase 12 blockbusters and 52 exclusive premiers starting with blockbusters like ‘King Kong’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Batman Begins’ in the first quarter of 2007.

Moreover, there will be stress on customisation for Indian viewers in 2007 with anchor properties like Time Out (for women), It’s a Guy Thing (for men), and HBO Sunday Treat (for family viewing). “It’s a conscious effort to align the programming keeping in mind the tastes of Indian viewers. The channel will also bring back its high rated property ‘Sex and the City’ and the second season of ‘Rome’,” Bajpai further said.

In terms of the revenues, according to Bajpai, HBO had grown around 15-20 per cent year-on-year and going forward it hoped to continue the trend.

Bajpai added, “The marketing and communication activities are going to be customised keeping the viewer in mind. There will be an emphasis on multimedia presence for the key titles and innovative clutter-breaking activities for our themes and HBO original productions. We will continue to interact with our viewers through our web and on air contests and interactive reminder services.”


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