With The Sopranos next season slated to start on March 12, I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what makes HBO so unique. While the networks fight to retain audience share, the cable network, HBO, retains paying viewers with relevant and unique content like Sex in the City, and Entourage.
While HBO is often the subject of water cooler talk they program and operate under a different set of rules from the rest of the television industry. Not only does HBO charge for their programming and keep subscribers locked in between seasons, they also tend to counter program the traditional November or February Sweeps periods. Instead HBO runs their most popular shows during network TV’s off months such as January, March and July. This strategy allows HBO to capitalize on an unsaturated market for hype, to have few new network shows to compete against, and perhaps most importantly, by staggering their programming it ensures that subscribers keep doing just that, subscribing between and throughout seasons.
In short, HBO seems to have developed its own paradigm that allows it to create a win-win solution for the network and its audience. Now, I’m glad that I never cancelled that HBO subscription, because in just a few short weeks everyone’s favorite mob family returns!