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HBO enters mobile commerce to drive content sales

Home Box Office Inc. has launched a free application for iPhone and iPod touch to expand its mobile footprint and drive purchases of mobile content.

Developed by Atimi Software Inc., the new HBO application is designed to provide Apple mobile device users with an in-depth, interactive experience that includes a variety of branded entertainment including video clips and an interactive episode guide. Other smartphone applications may also be in the pipeline.

“This application will be a key entertainment resource for HBO subscribers and fans as it lets those consumers dive deeper into their favorite shows with character information, short-form video clips and current scheduling information,” said Alison Moore, vice president of brand strategy at HBO, New York.

“The app will also be a great tool for non-HBO subscribers to find out about HBO shows and see previews of what is on the network,” she said. “One of our goals is expanding the brand to a younger demographic.”

Home Box Office Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour pay television services—HBO and Cinemax—to more than 40 million subscribers in the United States.

Atimi Software Inc. is a Canadian cross-platform development company that specializes in mobile application development for the new generation of smartphones.

Mobile entertainment
Consumers can buy video content and merchandise through the iTunes App Store and by hitting the “Buy Episode” button.

Using the native functionality—scroll, pinch and zoom—of the iPhone and iPod touch, the HBO application lets consumers navigate through programming schedules, view short-form video clips and episode guides, create reminder alerts for programs of interest and buy full-length episodes and other content on iTunes and

The HBO application includes episode guides and short-form video clips from the network’s original programming, including movies, series, documentaries and sports.

Users will be able to view behind-the-scenes features, share cast photos of their favorite stars and browse through its theatrical line-up using the digital scheduling guide.

A unique feature of the HBO application is the ability to view the complete HBO programming schedule, including High Definition, HBO On Demand and Multiplex Channels, based on a user’s actual geographic location.

The application also lets consumers receive alerts on upcoming programs.

Additionally, programs can be marked as “favorites” so that users can immediately find and follow their selected shows.

Other features of the HBO application include integration with popular social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter so that users can share information from the application with “friends” or “followers.”

Users can view full-screen display of videos and photos via landscape mode.

The features a game that lets users to find “Hidden Objects” in images from HBO series within specific time limits.

HBO is looking to develop and launch similar promotional applications for other mobile platforms in early 2010.

The cable network is using all of its digital marketing platforms to get the word out about the iPhone application, including, HBO’s YouTube and MySpace channels, as well as HBO social pages on Facebook and Twitter.

“We also plan to run a promotional sixty-second spot on the network that is currently on,” Ms. Moore said. “We are also currently running HBO’s first mobile search buy to promote the app.

“Finally, we are using all of our outlets on iTunes to get the word out, as well as podcasting, app storefront promotion and a mention in our TV Shows area,” she said.