27+ HBO Facts To Marathon in 2023
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
HBO is an American paid television network. In fact, it is the first subscription TV service.
Loved and watched by millions of people globally, HBO continuously creates original productions and adds new movies and TV shows to its program.
We, too, binge-watch HBO sometimes, so we decided to compile a list of intriguing HBO facts.
Are you with us?
The Most Fascinating HBO Facts (Editor’s Choice)
- The HBO TV channel was a pioneer in satellite transmission.
- In the beginning, HBO aired only nine hours per day.
- The HBO series “The Sopranos” was the first cable drama television series. In 1999, it got nominated for Best Drama Series Emmy.
- The HBO series “Game of Thrones” has the most Emmy Awards for a Drama Series.
- In April 2019, HBO had 142 million subscribers.
- HBO Max launched on May 27, 2020.
- The HBO app reported an average of 16,000 downloads per day in 2020.
2022 Facts About HBO
On November 8, 2022, HBO will celebrate its 50th anniversary. During its long operating history, the television service had a ton of remarkable moments.
1. Charles Dolan founded HBO.
(Source: Trivia Genius)
The entrepreneur was already in the cable television business when he came up with the idea for HBO.
In 1971, he made a proposal to the US mass media corporation Time Inc. for a subscription-based cable-originated television channel.
2. HBO was originally called “The Green Channel.”
(Source: Trivia Genius)
Charles Dolan called his project “The Green Channel.”
The idea was to provide viewers with theatrical movies and live events without ads interruptions.
3. Charles Dolan received a $150,000 development grant.
(Source: The Pennsylvania Center for the Book)
In 1971, Time Inc. approved Dolan’s “Green Channel” idea. The board of directors gave Dolan a $150,000 grant to develop the project.
With that funding, HBO was founded in 1972 in New York City.
4. HBO stands for “Home Box Office.”
The initial idea was to call the service the “Sterling Cable Network.” Ultimately, the team behind the project came up with the name “Home Box Office.”
The new name emphasized the idea of the service—to be a “ticket” to movies and events to watch from home.
5. HBO charged $6 a month.
(Source: History of Branding)
HBO subscribers paid an extra fee from the beginning.
The local cable operators charged $6 for the HBO television channel. The company received $3.50 of them.
6. Marion Sabestinas was HBO’s first customer.
(Source: AP NEWS)
The first-ever HBO customer was Marion Sabestinas from Wilkes-Barre.
She decided to pay for the commercial-free HBO so that her son, a huge New York Knicks fan, could watch sports games uninterrupted.
7. HBO started airing on November 8, 1972.
(Source: AP NEWS)
The first shows aired on HBO were a hockey game and the movie “Sometimes a Great Notion.”
Initially, the television service delivered two features each night—a sports event and a less popular movie.
8. On September 30, 1975, HBO began transmitting via satellite.
HBO was the first US network to transmit via satellite.
The first program delivered this way was the “Thrilla in Manilla” heavyweight boxing championship match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
9. In 1978, HBO lost thousands of customers.
This happened after a deal between HBO’s rival, Showtime, and the US’ largest cable systems operator, Teleprompter.
The deal ensured that Teleprompter’s customers received Showtime instead of HBO. As a result, HBO lost part of its viewership.
10. HBO launched its second channel, Cinemax, in 1980.
How did HBO address this issue?
It created Cinemax—an all-movie channel aimed to compete with Showtime. The plan succeeded since it offered a lower price.
11. Until 1981, HBO broadcasted for only nine hours a day.
(Source: Screen Rant)
HBO was available from 3:00 pm until midnight for almost ten years. In 1981, however, the company started broadcasting 24/7 in order to compete with Showtime.
12. HBO established the first “multiplexed” channels.
In 1991, HBO and Cinemax launched two new channels—HBO 2 and Cinemax 2.
The signals of the multiplexed channels were part of the same transmission as HBO and Cinemax.
13. HBO started streaming in 2010.
(Source: Dengen Chronicles)
The company is constantly expanding and creating new services.
In 2010, it launched its internet-streaming service, HBO Go.
14. HBO passed on some of the most-loved TV shows.
Shows like “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” and “Veep” have contributed largely to HBO's success.
However, the company missed quite a few opportunities.
Here are five of the most-liked shows HBO passed on
- “The Walking Dead”
- “Sons of Anarchy”
- “Breaking Bad”
- “Mad Men”
- “Party Down”
15. “Game of Thrones” set a record with its viewership on HBO in the US.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
HBO facts reveal that “Game of Thrones” was the platform’s most successful show. It broke several records—the most expensive, most watched fictional TV series.
It’s also the only TV show that inspired an article on our site.
The final episode was watched live or streamed the day after by 16.5 million US viewers. Another 15 million watched it later.
16. Season eight of “Game of Thrones” is the most expensive one in television history.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
The budget was $15 million per episode. The whole season cost $90 million.
17. HBO Go is HBO Max since May 2020.
(Source: Business Insider)
HBO Max was launched as an HBO Now and HBO Go replacement in May 2020.
The new channel offers a wider variety of movies and shows than the previous HBOs.
18. As of February 2022, HBO Max is available in 46 countries.
Since its launch in the US, HBO Max has spread around the world. After the US, it was launched in multiple countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Northern Europe.
On March 8, 2022, the platform will go live in 15 more European countries. These include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
19. HBO is famous for its TV series.
HBO began creating original programs in the 90s. The first shows it produced were mainly comedies, such as “The Larry Sanders Show.”
But the truly groundbreaking HBO series were “The Wire” and “The Sopranos.” They laid the base of what is now known as “prestige TV.”
HBO is very popular. But how much money does it make?
20. HBO made its first profit in 1977.
(Source: World Radio History)
HBO stats show that the company didn’t make any profit for almost five years after it was created. That changed in Q3 1977.
21. HBO’s annual revenue for 2020 was $6.1 billion.
It is estimated that 89.45% or $6.1 billion of the company’s revenue comes from subscriptions alone.
The monthly costs of HBO and HBO Max vary between $9.99 and $14.99.
22. HBO Max generated $1 million in revenue during the holidays.
HBO Max downloads were at their peak during Christmas 2020—680,000 in just three days.
Estimates suggest this equals $1 million in revenue.
23. HBO Max was among the Top 10 most downloaded apps in the US in 2021.
HBO Max ranked tenth on Apptopia's list. The app had 45 million downloads between December 21, 2020, and December 21, 2021.
On the list, HBO Max is preceded by the most popular app in the world Tik Tok, and also Instagram, Snapchat, Cash App, ZOOM, Messenger, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
24. In Q3 2021, HBO Max had a 10% market share in the US.
(Source: Cord Cutter News)
In 2021, HBO Max saw significant growth. It ranked fifth in terms of market share in the US.
Netflix leads the way with 27%, followed by Amazon Prime Video (21%), Disney+ (14%), and Hulu (13%).
25. As of February 2022, HBO has a net worth of $10 billion.
(Source: Wealthy Persons)
Even though the exact net worth of the platform is unknown, experts estimate it is around $10 billion.
After exploring the company’s history and financials, it is time to take a look at HBO’s user stats.
26. HBO’s subscriber count increased by 12 million from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021.
At the end of Q2 2021, HBO and HBO Max had 67.5 million customers around the world.
In comparison, in the same quarter of the previous year, its subscriber count was 55.5 million.
27. In December 2021, HBO had 73.8 million subscribers globally.
HBO’s parent company, telecom giant AT&T, reported a 4.4 million growth in subscribers in Q4 2021.
This surpassed the prediction of 70 to 73 million paid users.
28. In 2017, HBO had 41 million subscribers in the US alone.
In 2017, HBO had 142 million subscribers worldwide. The US accounted for the largest part of that count.
In fact, the US subscriber base reached 47 million in 2021.
29. As of March 2020, 16% of HBO’s subscribers were in the 30-44 years age group.
12% of the 2020 subscribers were aged between 18 and 29. Meanwhile, adults over 55 with a paid account were only 6%.
What’s more, over 20% of respondents aged 65+ have never heard of HBO.
30. HBO Max is aimed at young adults.
The current user base of HBO Max includes mainly Gen X and Millennials.
By including family-friendly content in HBO Max, the company is trying to reach young parents as well.
An independent online survey found that 43.75% of respondents were in their 20s.
Another 50% were in their 30s, and 6.25% were teenagers. The male to female ratio was 50:50.
31. HBO has around 2,000 employees.
HBO stats suggest that the company has about 2,000 employees across four locations.
The company’s CEO is Richard Plepler.
HBO is a revolutionary television service. Founded 50 years ago, it shaped the world of television as we know it today.
And the list of HBO facts above shows us it remains at the top of the charts.
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