English movie channel HBO is set to break-even in the Indian market by January 2005. Its South Asia country manager Shruti Bajpai says that they witnessed a double digit growth in revenues last year that would enable them to break-even by same time next year.
“The year 2003 was good for us in spite of a big event like the Cricket World Cup and the Conditional Access System (CAS),” she said. This is significant considering the fact that a large proportion of advertising expenses went into the World Cup.
Ms Bajpai said further that HBO has 150 advertisers on board with quite a few new names coming in during the last financial year. On the distribution front, HBO is a part of the SET/Discovery One Alliance.
The channel’s reach is expected to cross the viewership reach of around 18 million homes in India today. The One Alliance includes among others, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), SET Max, AXN, Discovery and the NDTV channels. “Overall, it has been a difficult year for everybody on distribution circuit because of CAS. We intend to ride on the distribution strength of the One Alliance,” said Ms Bajpai.
She added that the channel would try and consolidate its position this year. “Today our channel is being taken seriously,” she said.