CEU Kft, the Hungarian telecommunications company affiliated with HBO International, was granted a 10-year telecommunications service license by the Hungarian government to operate and uplink specialized television services to clients throughout Central Europe.
Speaking on behalf of CEU Kft, George Douglas, managing director of HBO in Hungary said, "We are very pleased to have been granted this long-term license in Hungary. It clearly signifies that HBO has passed all the rigorous legal and technical requirements of the licensing process. We've been providing a high quality, digital service to clients throughout Central Europe and this new license will enable us to continue to do so for years to come. We look forward to a continued and prosperous presence in Hungary."
The HBO-affiliated channels in Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are digitally uplinked from Budapest to the AMOS I satellite by CEU Kft. Until now, CEU Kft was operating under a temporary license from the Hungarian government.
In Hungary, HBO Hungary Rt. provides its subscribers with a mix of Hungarian, American and European films -- all either dubbed or subtitled in Hungarian. The 24-hour movie channel, distributed through cable, also offers original programming, including documentaries, music events and family entertainment. Launched in 1991, HBO Hungary is currently available in 166 cities, representing 77% of Hungary's cable television households.
Consistent with its approach in its other international ventures, HBO Hungary has pursued a policy of reinvesting a portion of its revenues into the local film industry. As a player in the Hungarian film production market, HBO has co-produced with local writers and production companies the film "Szamba." HBO has also produced a number of its original films on location in Hungary, such as "Red King-White Knight," "Stalin," "Citizen X" and "Rasputin."
According to Bill Hooks, executive vice president, HBO International, "For the past seven years, HBO has provided top quality entertainment to our subscribers in Hungary. We've invested billions of forints into the local film industry and simultaneously created significant employment opportunities in television and film production, cable television infrastructure and satellite communications. We look forward to continued success in Hungary."
HBO, a division of Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P., is the most successful pay television channel in the U.S. Outside the U.S., HBO services are available in 40 countries and are watched by nearly 10 million viewers. The launch of HBO in Hungary in September 1991 marked the first launch of an HBO channel overseas. HBO in Hungary is owned by Kabelkom Kft, a leading Hungarian cable television operator/programmer, which is a venture of Time Warner and United Pan-Europe Communications NV. Kabelkom also offers subscribers two other channels: Spektrum, a Hungarian-language documentary channel and Z+, a music video network targeting the market's youth audience.