The theater might be in your living room, but you still have to pay this company to see the movies. Home Box Office is a leading pay-TV operator with nearly 127 million global subscribers to its HBO and Cinemax cable television services. The channels offer a variety of Hollywood movies and foreign films, along with original series programming including Game of Thrones, Girls, and Boardwalk Empire. Subscribers also receive sports events, concerts, and other specialty programming. Internationally, HBO reaches more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In addition to its movie channels, Home Box Office produces films and TV programming through HBO Films. The company is a subsidiary of Time Warner.
While its original programming tends to hog the spotlight, most of Home Box Office's programming continues to focus on first-run movies and older titles licensed for broadcast from film studios. The company has deals to broadcast feature films from major studios including Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation. In order to adapt to an increase in competition in the home entertainment market (especially from outlets such as Netflix and Redbox), Home Box Office in 2010 shortened the length of time it takes to broadcast a title after it leaves the theater to 10 months (down from the 12-month period from previous years).
Though movies from other studios remain popular, the company has succeeded in setting itself apart from the competition by broadening its appeal with critically acclaimed original programming. Hit shows such as True Blood, VEEP, and The Newsroom have followed in the footsteps of earlier successes such as The Sopranos and Sex and the City to define the HBO brand and boost subscriber numbers. In 2013 HBO won 27 Primetime Emmys (more than any other TV network), and the company continues to invest in new programming to stay ahead of rivals such as Showtime (a subsidiary of CBS Corporation) and Starz (owned by Liberty Media).
Home Box Office is an important part of Time Warner's vast array of networks and production businesses, serving as an in-house outlet for films produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment. Home Box Office has diversified its revenue with DVD sales and digital media distribution (through Apple's iTunes store, among others). It also allows subscribers to view programs whenever they choose via streaming services HBO GO and MAX GO.
The company also syndicates its original programming to other broadcast outlets: Tribune Media has aired Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm on its TV stations. In addition, the HBO-produced show Everybody Loves Raymond, which aired for nine seasons on broadcast TV, continues to air in syndication.
The HBO service began in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1972 as a pay-TV channel with a sports focus.