HBO Asia to launch pair

Five channels to be bundled together as HBO/Max Pak

SINGAPORE — HBO Asia are poised to launch HBO Family and HBO Hits, aimed at premium markets in the region.

Starting in Hong Kong on Thursday, the channels will roll out in the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia by May.

HBO now has five spinoff channels — including HBO, HBO Signature and Cinemax — that will be bundled together as the HBO/Max Pak.

The new additions come less than a year after the successful introduction of HBO Signature, the first channel in HBO’s bouquet, according to HBO Asia chief exec Jonathan Spink.

“HBO/Max Pak offers subscribers more premium programming and greater added value and greater viewing choice, driving subscriber acquisition while improving retention for cable operators throughout the region,” he said.

HBO Family will offer family entertainment, while HBO Hits will cover hit movies.

Singapore-based HBO Asia, a joint venture of Paramount Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner Entertainment and Universal Studios, has exclusive licensing deals with major Hollywood studios — Columbia TriStar, Paramount Pictures (DreamWorks), Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, round-the-clock Internet business channel NOW BNC, operated by Hong Kong telco PCCW’s Netcaster NOW Broadband TV, will bow March 20.

Focus will be on Hong Kong and Chinese business stories, and the channel has set up live broadcast facilities at 10 local brokerages and securities analysts’ offices.