What is HBO?


HBO is one of the biggest names when it comes to video streaming services in the world. Home Box Office (HBO) is an American premium cable television owned by a company called Home Box Office, Inc., which is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia Ent.

With dozens of original content and thousands of subscribers around the world, there is no doubt that HBO’s spot as number one, the oldest, and most trusted in the industry is unrivaled.

Featuring the best of TV shows, movies, documentaries, and much more, Home Box Office is the most extended operating pay television service in the US.

HBO has been in operation since the 8th of November 1972 and recorded 140 million subscribers around the world as of 2018.

The network offers a total of 7 multiplex channels, including HBO Latino, HBO Comedy, HBO Signature, and HBO Family. The HBO streaming service was launched in April 2015 and had enjoyed great attention leading its recorded 5 million subscribers in the US alone in 2015.

HBO streaming media offers four divisions, namely HBO Go, HBO Now, HBO Films, and HBO Max respectively. While the HBO Go is available to US cable subscribers and requires a login from paid TV providers to gain access to content, HBO Now only requires you to subscribe and enjoy great content on the Go.

Here are 13 things you probably never knew about HBO

When HBO started in 1972, it only signed up for 365 households in the Pennsylvania-area, they never knew they would become a household name all around the globe.

These 16 facts you are about to read will take you on a journey from when HBO started to where they are now.

HBO was first named the green channel

Charles Dolan, who was a cable TV enthusiast as the time when only a few people understood what Cable TV was about, felt there would be a market for the stations that showed only sports and movies.

These stations would be premium, and people would do anything to gain access to them without interruption.

Once Dolan and his team were able to secure an investment from Time, Inc., they swiftly renamed their project HBO to better portray their event and Hollywood programming.

The first HBO movie broadcast is mostly forgotten

Before Home Box Office aired their first live sporting event, which was a New York Rangers/Vancouver Canucks hockey game in 1972, the TV channel showed their very first film titled: Sometimes a Great Nation. The movie was a 1971 drama about lumber unions featuring Henry Fonda and Paul Newman.

HBO uses microwaves to get their signal out

In the 1970s, satellite technology was nothing close to reliable; Home box Office had no choice but to distribute its signals with the aid of microwaves.

However, with time, satellite offered a cheaper option and broader coverage. As their subscribers increased, the use of satellite technology became a necessity.

HBO was on air for only nine hours initially

For the first close to 10 years of HBOs existence, the streaming service provided its service for about 9 hours daily.

Thankfully, a competitor showed up (Showtime) and offered 24 hours service in 1981, pushing HBO to UP their game.

HBO’s first spinoff channel was less than impressive

In an attempt to complement their schedule, HBO decided to launch a family-oriented channel called Take 2 in the year 1979.

The channel was family-friendly indeed, but viewers were having none of that, leading to its untimely disappearance in less than 12 months of its inception.

A sibling brand was then launched, and it was called Cinemax, which featured both old classics and new films and also promised cinephiles uninterrupted service.

The first HBO original movie was the second to air

With a drive to distinguish themselves from other pay-TV services, HBO ventured into creating their original content, starting with a film that provided them with a somewhat mixed outcome.

The first HBO original movie is titled Right of way and was made in 1983, featuring Bette Davis and Jimmy Stewart as a married couple who were planning a double suicide.

HBO cheated slightly to get STAR WARS

In 1983 when Fox sold off its premium TV rights to STAR WARZ, they weren’t exclusive: all the channels were expected to premier the content no earlier than 6 am on the first of February.

HBO was smart enough to pay Fox to allow them air the film at midnight that day, which was 6 hours ahead of the competition, and they made sure not to run any ads to draw attention to what they had planned.

This move was initially created for the bragging rights, but they ended up gaining more audience by that singular cheating act.

HBO’s first event programming was polka

Excluding sports, Home Box Office’s first live event was the coverage of Pennsylvania polka festival in 1973.

The coverage was a certain endurance test that lasted for 3 hours. That same year, HBO recorded a drop in subscribers from 14000 to 8000.

HBO scared movies studios

With a little over 12 million subscribers in 1983, HBO was the go-to place for almost every film lover at the time.

This achievement became a scare to companies like Warner, Paramount, and MCA had to collaborate with Viacom to launch two different pay television to compete with HBO. The two channels are The movie channel and ShowTime.

Both studios benefited from this move as HBO paid 500 million dollars to Paramount for a library of their titles.

HBO is suspected of having paid $40 million for Ghostbusters

In the 1980s, it was a significant priority for studios to have major hit movies. When Ghostbusters became a major hit in the 1980s, HBO had secured a deal with Columbia Pictures, and an ex-HBO employee claims that the company had paid half a billion dollars for broadcast rights.

HBO made Emmy history with The Sopranos

Before the 1999 debut of HBO’s most popular series, no cable drama ever got nominated for an Emmy award. But with the first season of the mob, that changed for good. The drama raked a total of 16 nominations.

Throughout the full run of the show in 2017, the drama got a total of 112 nominations, and also won a total of 21 times.

HBO dumped the initial game of thrones pilot

After seeing the 2009 pilot episode that was adapted from George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga,  the executives were dis-satisfies with the outcome.

Before they almost scrapped the entire series, they chose to try a re-shoot and a re-cast.

The average HBO subscriber waits for up to 18 months

While it is not uncommon for people to subscribe to HBO and cancel after watching GOT or any other HBO series, it has been discovered that people who subscribe to HBO Now streaming service keep the subscription for about 1 year.

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