Home Box Office

Corporate Description

Home Box Office (HBO) is the pay television programming division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P. and provides two 24-hour pay television services, HBO and Cinemax. These services are provided via cable systems, microwave transmission or directly to owners of individual satellite dishes, to over 30 million subscribers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. HBO is the largest single-brand subscription service in the world as well as one of the top direct marketers.

Launched in November of 1972, HBO is the most watched, oldest and largest premium television service in the United States.

Description of the department

Systems Development.  HBO depends heavily on networked computers.  HBO won a 'Top 100 Users of Internet Technology' award from ComputerWorld in 1997.  We work on everything from www.hbo.com to internal systems for sales and system development.
Like many artistically oriented corporations, HBO supports multiple platforms, including Macs, Win 95 and NT PCs, and Solaris Unix.
Previously, NYU Projects students added a database backend to our viewing schedule on the Internet.


Proposal 1:  XML data definitions for asset cataloging

HBO would like to create a XML definitional dictionary for asset categorizations and translations.  This dictionary would include photos, graphics, audio, video, fonts, etc that could be stored in a variety of different mediums and retrieved through a common data structure.


Digital Library:

HBO is in need of a comprehensive digital library of all their creative assets.   One of the most important aspects is creating a common language across both the creative and technical communities.  The creation of the definitional language should include the hierarchical structure that reflects the relationships between attributes and categories of content.


This proposal would be to begin to architect a definitional language, categories, and creation information tied to our Rights management systems.  The next step would be to create the XML dictionary that could assist in the movement of the assets between various aspects of the work flow process and across different types of delivery and display mechanisms.


The dictionary would then become a part of the interface between the proposed Digital Library system and a potential Java or HTML client.


Resources for students

HBO will make equipment and software available for this product.


Intern Address

HBO, 1100 Ave of Americas, New York, New York 10036


Authorizing Manager

Michael Gabriel, SVP and CIO, 212-512-1240, michael.gabriel@hbo.com


Supervising Manager

Bruce Probst, VP Internet Technology, 212-512-1306, bruce.probst@hbo.com


Project Manger

Carl Hixson, Manager Digital Library, 212-512-1522, carl.hixson@hbo.com


Proposal 2: Subscription and Pay-per-View Internet Product Offer

HBO would like to prototype a user interface that allows consumers to search, preview and view a variety of content over the Internet utilizing a combined subscription and pay-per-view based product model. 


Orders would be accomplished through a site which would allow users to search for content in a variety of ways:


Content Search

·        Video name

·        Producer

·        Actor

·        Genre/category (comedy, action, documentary, drama, adult, sports, music, etc.)

·        Under genre, all available content should be searchable.  For instance, if a series is selected (like Arli$$, the viewer should be able to continue a search for a particular episode based on a word or phrase in the synopsis or by an actor)

·        Connection speed  (dial-up, 100k, 300k, etc.)


Note: Each selection should provide information about the content, ratings info, actors, photo(s), and trailer(s).


Purchase options:

Ability to purchase content based on a variety of options, such as:

·        Play once

·        Play as often as they’d like over a defined period of time (1 day, a weekend, etc.)

·        Monthly subscription to content product combinations (see below)


Product Combinations

·        Single episode

·        Entire season

·        All episodes

·        Entire catalog, all original series, or all documentaries, or all movies, or all boxing, or all sports, or all comedies, etc.


Preview Options:

The ability to offer a free preview for a particular piece of content (one episode), or for a particular genre, for a particular period of time (1 day, 1 week, etc.) needs to be tracked, and the user needs to be notified of the expiration period and options prior to expiration.


Subscription Management:

The ability to tell a subscriber that they can save money by purchasing a subscription package, rather than PPV or a la carte.  For instance, if they ordered their 3rd PPV title, they might have been better off with a monthly subscription, which would give them more content at a lower price.  Or if they had a subscription to Comedy, but then ordered a PPV product (single episode or event), they may have been better off with a broader subscription package.


In addition, if someone is currently a subscriber to HBO on cable or satellite (proven through ?), the ability to add the Internet connection at a lower rate than if they didn’t have HBO.  Also, the ability to add other distribution options (such as wireless device) at an additional charge to the basic subscription.


The scope of this project would not encompass the security of the content, the distribution of the content, the credit card authorization or revenue collection..


Resources for students

HBO will make equipment and software available for this product utilizing a technical architecture to be agreed upon by HBO IT.


Intern address

HBO, 1100 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036.


Authorizing Manager

Michael Gabriel, SVP and CIO, 212-512-1240, michael.gabriel@hbo.com


Project Manager

Bruce Probst, VP Internet Technology, 212-512-1306, bruce.probst@hbo.com