HBO has had a good run in the year 2010. According to Shruti Bajpai, Country Manager, HBO South Asia, “2010 has been the best year for HBO in India as we have grown 15 per cent year-on-year in revenue, the highest growth ever since our launch in 2000.” With 2011 just a week away, Bajpai shares with exchange4media the English movie channel’s growth plans and strategies for the coming year.
The English movie genre saw Star Movies and HBO tossing between the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. The space now sees the launch of Big Prime CBS and Movies Now. Far from seeing the new entrants as threats, Bajpai felt that the entry of new players would increase the entire English entertainment space, which was otherwise small in India.
Speaking on 2010, she added, “HBO had a 36 per cent market share for the last four weeks and 33 per cent for the last 10 week.”
She further said, “The main focus in 2010 was to exploit the social media, and HBO India was created in the middle of the year. From 4,000 fans in July, the community now has more than 180,000 members and the forum is very active with information on all the movies and latest happenings updated on the page. The idea really is to reach out to the younger audiences, increase loyalty towards the brand, and also spread the reach. The community also helps us get feedback from the viewers, which help us a lot.”
Stating that the year 2011 would be a very important year for HBO, Bajpai said, “Our focus in 2011 will be to bring a variety of content for our viewers, thus we have tied up with more than 13 new independent studios and movie companies, while continuing with our old partners like Warner Brothers, Universal and Paramount. Some of the best independent studios that we have now tied up with include Inferno, Morgan Creek, LionsGate, and Summit, among others.”
This apart, the channel has also lined up some big ticket premieres of the biggest blockbusters from the years 2009 and 2010. Of the top 25 worldwide box office hits from 2009 and 2010, HBO has acquired rights to premiere 50 per cent of the movies.
“We also plan to bring very high quality productions like ‘Board Walk Empire’, ‘Spartacus’, and ‘Hung’ to the channel in 2011. We also plan to show the favourites throughout the year, franchises like ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Harry Potter’,” Bajpai said.