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New Gallic paybox channel leverages HBO pull, prestige in Europe

PARIS — Leveraging its powerful upscale brand image in France, as well as bowing a pay TV business model which could expand across Europe, HBO will team with Orange Cinema Series (OCS), European telco Orange’s feevee bouquet, to launch OCS City, Generation HBO.

Bowing Oct. 10, the new channel will air all new HBO series in exclusivity in a first-run window. Offer forms part of a five-year accord between HBO and OCS.

OCS City, Generation HBO also includes a new dedicated U.S.+24 VOD service, offering viewers HBO series at 8:40 p.m. on Monday night primetime, less than a day after their U.S. bow.

OCS will also launch another VOD system, OCS Go, with an HBO Corner offering complete access to cult modern-day HBO drama classics such as “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Six Feet Under” and “Bored to Death.”

Driven by shared OCS-HBO branding, Orange’s new pay TV channel offer rolls off a longstanding relationship between HBO and Orange.

Orange made waves at Mip TV in 2008 unveiling Orange Cinema Series, a new premium pay TV service in France, and announcing exclusive multiyear rights deals with both HBO and Warner Bros.

First seen as a more modestly-priced rival to Gallic pay TV giant Canal Plus, OCS pacted a strategic alliance with Canal Plus in 2011 with Canal Plus buying a 33% minority stake in OCS.

Canal Plus inked an exclusive output deal with Warner Bros. last October. OCS, however, renewed its first-run output deal with HBO in January.  OCS’ new configuration underscores the might and prestige of the U.S. cabler, which is now very much at the heart of OCS’ multi-channel/VOD offer.

“It is a privilege to see our brand playing such a strategic role in this new association,” HBO CEO Richard Piepler commented.

Added Guillaume Jouhet, OCS general manager: “We’re extremely proud to announce the association of our two brands, creating the most beautiful of channels for fans of series.”

Re-structuring its previously five movie/TV series bouquet, OCS is folding family channel OCS Happy into blockbuster feed OCS Max and cancelling OCS Novo, an arthouse/indie pic service, though some of its programs will move to OCS City, Generation HBO.

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