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HBO hopes to hit it big with IPL movie clone - Sathish - 03-05-2010

The flavour of the season is IPL, and English movie channel HBO is confident some of that magic will rub off on its own IPL-inspired Hollywood Premier League (HPL), which will launch on March 9.

This is HPL's second season (the first coincided with last year's IPL), which will feature the biggest box office hits of recent years.

Positive response

Speaking to Business Line, Ms Shruti Bajpai, Country Manager (South Asia), HBO Asia, said the first season had caught on really well, and had been a “good way with which we battled the downturn”. A record number of advertisers had come aboard, she added.

To a query on whether the connection between IPL and HPL was rather forced, she said, “The biggest form of vindication, apart from ratings, was that competition copied us.”

Last year, it was only one channel; this year, several are doing it, she claimed, adding that it meant HBO was doing something right.

HBO is promoting HPL quite heavily this time around through the outdoor, print and online media. It is advertising on several TV channels as well.

HPL will have a two-month run and this year, the cricket metaphor is being extended with features such as Scoreboard, which will keep score of box office and awards statistics, Full Toss (best action scenes from HPL movies), and Catch of the Match (guy-gets-girl-in-the-end scenes).

“It is like a sporting event as it's all about victory, blood, sweat, tears in the choice of movies,” Ms Bajpai said.

The movies being featured this season include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kung Fu Panda, Milk, The Incredible Hulk and Batman Begins.

Late-night fare

The advertisers on board this year include Unilever, Pepsi, Samsung, Hero Honda, Emirates and Tata Sky. These movies would air at around 11 p.m., which is when the IPL matches would end.

The HBO promotion hopes to steer those viewers on to its own channel. Ms Bajpai would not discuss revenue or growth targets but said the channel was having good and steady growth year on year.

Source: The Hindu Business Line