Technology

HBO: Black History via SVOD

1/29/2006 4:00 PM Eastern

Films starring or about Halle Berry, Rosa Parks and Jim Brown will be available on Home Box Office’s subscription-video-on-demand service as the premium network offers 15 years’ worth of African-American-oriented original content during the month of February.

HBO on Demand will present the “Black History Month” area Jan. 31-Feb. 27, according to director of strategic partnerships and emerging markets Lucinda Desir. The network offered a similar on-demand destination for “Hispanic Heritage Month” in September.

HBO On Demand will feature more than 20 hours of original movies and documentaries, including Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, starring Berry; Mighty Times: The Legacy of Rosa Parks; Jim Brown: All-American; The Josephine Baker Story; Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives; and Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls.

“What we wanted to do is outline and showcase the fact that we’ve been in this space for a long time, telling stories that are relevant,” Desir said. “We decided to go back to 15 years of storytelling so viewers can check out the depth and breadth of programming for African-American audiences.”

Desir said HBO research confirms that African-Americans, who represent 23% of the network’s subscribers, are heavy on-demand users.

“African-Americans and Hispanics are early adopters of any technology, so we felt that this is an area where we didn’t have to do much user education,” she added.

The on-demand offering is being supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign dubbed, “Our History and Our Stories: 15 Years of Storytelling.” HBO will team up with a number of cable affiliates in heavily populated African-American markets like New York; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Detroit; Houston; Hampton Roads, Va.; and Milwaukee to disseminate cross-channel spots and radio spots that support the on-demand effort.

The network will also offer a free DVD from one of three movies -- Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Tuskegee Airmen and Boycott -- for anyone who signs up for HBO during the month of February.

March