HBO Asia and SKYcable have officially launched HBO GO in the Philippines. The online streaming service was first launched in the US in 2010, and the Philippines is the second Asian country to gain access to it.
HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink; HBO brand ambassadors Saab, Pia, and Maxene Magalona; and SKYcable COO Ray Montenola at the HBO GO Launch (photo from Hardware Zone Philippines)
HBO GO first arrived in Asia during its Hong Kong launch in early 2013. Singapore seems a better option for HBO GO’s second Asian launch because of the country’s better infrastructure, but HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink said that content censorship in the country has slowed down the launch process. He remains optimistic that these legal matters can be ironed out soon.
It’s hardly surprising that HBO Asia would choose to partner with SKY in this endeavor. SKY president and CEO, Carlo Katigbak, said that they currently have over 800,000 subscriptions, and an average year-on-year growth of 10%. The Philippines’ growing mobile penetration is another reason HBO Asia sees great potential in launching the service in the country.
Easy Access to a Wealth of Content
SKYcable Subscribers with the HBO Full Pack or SKYbroadband 5mbps unlimited paired with SKYcable HBO Asia get free access to HBO GO. Subscribers with HBO Asia and without SKYbroadband will have to pay a monthly fee of Php 199, and SKYbroadband subscribers who also have SKYcable HBO Asia will be charged Php 99 a month. The service is accessible on desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets.
HBO GO grants subscribers access to popular HBO series like Game of Thrones on multiple devices (Photo from Unbox.ph)
HBO GO will contain current and previous HBO Originals, including series, movies, documentaries, and other entertainment content. Subscribers will have access to more content than what’s currently available on HBO channels (HBO, Cinemax, HBO Family, HBO Hits, and HBO Signature), and will even have access to some content that was never aired on HBO Asia.
A Move to Combat Piracy
Online piracy is a prominent problem in the Philippines, with the country having the 10th highest BitTorrent downloads in the world in 2012. The implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 means that Filipinos can now be punished for downloading copyrighted videos. Those found guilty of acquiring digital copies of copyrighted materials can now be fined between Php 20,0000 to 500,000, and serve 6 to 20 years in prison.
With the service’s low costs, unlimited viewing access, and same-day access to new HBO series episodes, HBO GO can hopefully discourage people from resorting to piracy to get their latest film and TV series fix.
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