HBO Asia celebrates 25 years with more Asian Originals

Singapore-based HBO Asia brings the best of Hollywood to Asia first through its exclusive licensing deals with major Hollywood and independent studios, including Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Lionsgate and DreamWorks Animation.

It reaches 23 territories across Asia with six 24-hour commercial-free subscription movie channels: HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Hits and Cinemax, as well as Red by HBO, internet streaming platform, HBO GO, SVOD service, HBO On Demand, and in China, 鼎级剧场 (ding ji ju chang).

HBO Asia has become more relevant than ever over the past 25 years and is poised to be well-positioned for the future ahead. It has created a strong brand presence in Asia through our programming strategy with good original content both from the U.S. and within Asia itself.

Jonathan Spink, CEO: 'Our business strategy continues to be more flexible and proactive in what we’re doing. In the past few years alone, we’ve added more services such as the suite of HBO plex channels, HBO On Demand and enhanced the online streaming service HBO GO. Needless to say, the main challenge for the industry as a whole, would be the threat of rampant piracy'.

In November 2017, HBO Asia announced plans to ramp up the number of HBO Asian Original productions scheduled to premiere in the coming years. 'We announced six projects that will be filmed and based in various countries across Asia including China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand', he adds.

The first that will be premiering this month is Miss Sherlock, its very first Japanese language eight-part, hour-long drama series, produced in collaboration with Hulu in Japan that pays homage to the classic Sherlock Holmes set in modern day Tokyo where both lead characters are Japanese women.

Later this year, it will premiere two brand-new HBO Asia Original series Folklore, an anthology horror series that takes place across multiple Asian countries and is based on each country’s deeply-rooted superstitions and myths, and Grisse, a period drama series set in the mid 1800’s within the colonial period of the Dutch East Indies. 'Currently, The Teenage Psychic and both seasons of Halfworlds are available to audiences in the US on the HBO US service with more HBO Asia Original titles slated to air globally soon', remarks Spink.

Regarding the APAC programming trends, he says: Given the fragmented market here with varying cultural backgrounds, languages and viewing habits, the challenge is in finding and building common ground to make content accessible not just to the country that the stories are set in, but also make them accessible across the region and find a global audience as well'.

'As with other parts of the world, there has been an increase in digital consumption of content across Asia. Our online streaming service HBO GO is available in Hong Kong, Philippines and most recently, Singapore and we have plans to roll out in more territories soon', complets Spink.

About the future, the executive comments: 'Over the years, we have identified and agree with the importance of localised and relevant Asian original content. We are committed to harnessing the full potential of talent and production infrastructure the region has to offer and create premium, authentic and relevant content for our audiences here'.

'We have had successful co-productions so far, starting with Serangoon Road with Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and our current co-production with Hulu in Japan for Miss Sherlock, which will premiere this April. We are definitely open to doing more co-productions if we feel the content resonates with our viewers', he concludes.