HBO is to launch an English language movie channel HBO South Asia service in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives on Sept 1, 2000. Programming will consist exclusively of films sourced through exclusive licensing agreements with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

HBO will manage the new markets through a joint venture known as HBO South Asia, comprised of Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Time Warner Entertainment and Universal Studios. President and CEO of the new company is Dan Murrell.

HBO was launched in India in March 2000 and is already in more than 8 million cable and satellite homes in the sub-continent. Only Time Warner-originated movies were available until Sept 1 when the new studio content will go on to the channel. The service will be advertising-supported, with distribution and advertising sales handled by Turner International India Pvts Ltd. In Pakistan, the HBO service will be distributed exclusively by Leo Communications.

The channel plans to show some 70 films a month, with the initial lineup including Godzilla, The Mask Of Zorro, Stepmom, Forrest Gump and The River Wild. Over the following months, other movies will premiere including Shakespeare In Love, The Truman Show, Clear And Present Danger, Jerry Maguire, Mission: Impossible and My Best Friend's Wedding.