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== History<ref>Edgerton, Gary R., and Jeffrey P. Jones. The Essential HBO Reader. Lexington.: University of Kentucky, 2008. Print.</ref><br>  ==
 
== History<ref>Edgerton, Gary R., and Jeffrey P. Jones. The Essential HBO Reader. Lexington.: University of Kentucky, 2008. Print.</ref><br>  ==
  
In 1971, Sterling Communications owner Charles Dolan parlayed money from Time Inc. to create the “Green Channel.” However, as a pay-television channel featuring home-entertainment programming such as premiere movies and sporting events, Dolin fittingly renamed the channel “Home Box Office Inc.” (HBO). On November 8, 1972, HBO debuted with ''Sometimes a Great Nation'' and a National Hockey League game. With HBO’s sluggish start and failure to retain subscribers, Gerald Levin replaced Dolan as president. In addition, HBO purchased access to Satcom 1, an RCA-owned communication satellite, in 1975.<br>  
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In 1971, Sterling Communications owner Charles Dolan parlayed money from Time Inc. to create the “Green Channel.” However, as a pay-television channel featuring home-entertainment programming such as premiere movies and sporting events, Dolin fittingly renamed the channel “Home Box Office Inc.” (HBO). On November 8, 1972, HBO debuted with ''Sometimes a Great Nation'' and a National Hockey League game. The idea of HBO&nbsp;did not catch on.&nbsp; With HBO’s sluggish start and failure to retain subscribers, Gerald Levin replaced Dolan as president. Additionally, HBO purchased access to Satcom 1, an RCA-owned communication satellite, in 1975.<br>  
  
On October 1, 1975, HBO initially flourished by internationally broadcasting “Thrilla in Manila”, a heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Proving itself a success during American television’s cable era, HBO started profiting in 1977 with over 600,000 subscriptions. Viewing HBO’s success, many niche channels followed suit. By 1983, HBO transmitted its first made-for-pay-TV movie, ''The Terry Fox Story''; the network released its first miniseries, ''All the Rivers Run'' a year later. Exploring various media, HBO garnered over thirteen million subscriptions.  
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On October 1, 1975, HBO initially flourished by internationally broadcasting “Thrilla in Manila”, a heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Proving itself a success during America's great cable era, HBO started profiting in 1977 with over 600,000 subscriptions. Viewing HBO’s accomplishment of using communication satellites, many niche channels followed suit. By 1983, HBO transmitted its first made-for-pay-TV movie, ''The Terry Fox Story''; the network released its first miniseries, ''All the Rivers Run''.&nbsp; Even in its beginning, HBO&nbsp;innovatively incorporated various media to make more than just television; they made art.<br>
  
Perhaps due to the network’s unique subscription-based financial model, along with the help of its digital and online viewership, HBO created a tradition of original, critically-acclaimed programming in the 1990s. Devoid of the narrative fragmentation present in commercials from other networks, HBO programs allow for a more fluid, cinematic viewing for its audience. Unlike other sponsor-regulated networks, HBO maintains its original cinematic visions, as it can explicitly show more contentious materials—including sex, drugs, language, and violence. This model has allowed HBO to produce signature programs such as ''Oz,'' ''The Sopranos'', and ''Sex in the City''. <br>  
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Due to the network’s unique subscription-based financial model, HBO created a tradition of original, critically-acclaimed programming in the 1990s. Dependent on viewer subscriptions rather than corporate sponsors, HBO's programming lack commercials.&nbsp; In contrast to narrative fragmentation of commercials apparent in programs of other networks, HBO programs can feature more fluid, Hollywood-like cinematic viewing for its television audience; HBO can create a higher level of art that casts it as a premium channel. Unlike other sponsor-regulated networks, HBO maintains its original cinematic visions, as it can explicitly show more taboo materials—including sex, drugs, language, and violence. HBO's unique model has enabled the network to produce signature programs such as ''Oz,'' ''The Sopranos'', and ''Sex in the City''. <br>
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<u>'''''<br>'''''</u>
  
 
== Role in Production, Distribution, and Transmission  ==
 
== Role in Production, Distribution, and Transmission  ==
  
Lending to its tremendous popularity, HBO not only produces and broadcasts all of its own original series on its own network, but also distributes them to other networks. For instance, the network launched HBO Independent Productions in 1990. Consequently, HBO then created HBO Downtown Productions, which produces comedy specials for both HBO and Comedy Central.  
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Lending to its tremendous popularity, HBO not only produces and broadcasts its own original series for its own network, but also distributes them to other networks. For instance,in 1990 the network launched HBO Independent Productions, which produced multiple episodes of ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' for CBS. Consequently, HBO then created HBO Downtown Productions, which produces comedy specials for both HBO and Comedy Central.  
 
 
Increasing its media scope, HBO also focuses on film. For example, HBO Films produces original feature films as well as original miniseries, such as ''The Pacific, Generation Kill, and Band of Brothers''. HBO generally keeps the programs that it produces, despite completed full-length feature films produced in its studios that have gained commercial success. The channel itself only distributes these films to subscribing customers. HBO recently refused Netflix access to its movies. Accordingly, Netflix signed an agreement with Relativity Media allowing Netflix rights to those movies, instead of running on pay-cable channels like HBO<ref>Fritz, Ben. "Netflix Challenging HBO and Showtime as It Signs Distribution Deal with Relativity Media | Company Town | Los Angeles Times." Latimes.com. 6 July 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/07/netflix-challenging-hbo-showtime-as-it-signs-distribution-deal-with-relativity-media.html</ref>. This limits the programs and feature films that HBO has the ability to air and could potentially affect its viewership.
 
 
 
However, HBO does not only rely on its own company to generate profits, but also on corporate collaborations. For example, HBO unexpectedly announced a partnership with Google that would offer Web programming through television for HBO subscribers<ref>Miller, Claire, and Brian Stelter. "The New York Times Log In." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News; Multimedia. 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/technology/05google.html</ref>. According to the website, "On HBO GO,℠ you can enjoy unlimited access to over 600 hours of your favorite shows, including HBO® original programming, hit movies, sports, comedy and much more, all available in HD right from your computer (PC or MAC). Plus, get bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras." HBO’s relationship with Google TV will not only be available online, but also at-home. <br>
 
  
== Branding and Advertising Strategies  ==
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Increasing its media scope, HBO also focuses on film. For example, HBO Films produces original feature films as well as its epic, popular miniseries, such as ''The Pacific, Generation Kill, and Band of Brothers''. HBO generally keeps the programs that it produces, despite completed full-length feature films produced in its studios that have gained commercial success. The channel itself only distributes these films to subscribing customers.
  
HBO relies on its programming as well as the cast members involved to comprise its most powerful branding techniques. Consequently, HBO budgets the bulk of its branding dollars to programming. As vice president of HBO marketing Eric Kessler explains: "At the end of the day, the brand is all about the programming. The campaign `It's Not TV. It's HBO' works because the programming is so incredible," says Kessler. "What people remember about HBO isn't a slogan. It's ''The Sopranos''. It's ''Sex and the City''. It's ''Six Feet Under''."<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding bolsters expectations. (HBO at 30)." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;type=retrieve&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;tabID=T003&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;prodId=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;docId=A94226674&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;source=gale&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;version=1.0</ref>In fact, they rely on the idea that the programming should speak for itself so much, that an ad shot by Annie Leibovitz in 2002 promoting the new season, didn't even include the show's title, and instead relied on the fact that ''The Sopranos ''was one of the most watched shows at the time.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding bolsters expectations. (HBO at 30)." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;type=retrieve&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;tabID=T003&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;prodId=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;docId=A94226674&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;source=gale&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;version=1.0</ref>
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With a subscription, HBO viewers gain access to seven different channels, each with a wide variety of programming catering to different demographics.&nbsp; HBO's narrowcasting ensures that there is something for everyone who may possibly subscribe. The seven channels are:  
 
 
Another part of the self-created HBO brand is the idea that it's "Not TV. It's HBO". While no longer HBO's current slogan, many HBO advertisements still center on HBO's idea of being something more than what other channels offer. Additionally, HBO greatly differs from network television with its cancellation policy. Network TV heavily relies on ratings, and thus is forced to cancel show with low ratings; often this spells disaster for new shows with potential, but take too long to find their fan base. Because HBO operates on a subscription basis, it can keep shows, regardless of ratings. Therefore, HBO has the liberty to pick up and keep as many new shows it desires. By showing their commitment to keeping their programming consistent, they set themselves apart from other channels.<ref>Weinman, Jaime. "Get a Show on HBO and You're Set for Life." Macleans. 1 Sept. 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/09/01/get-a-show-on-hbo-and-youre-set-for-life.</ref>
 
 
 
As mentioned above, HBO viewers must subscribe to HBO, as HBO is not a part of basic cable packages. While relying on programming is a good technique for keeping current subscribers and occasionally attracting new ones, this method does not attract the number of new subscribers that HBO wants or needs. Therefore, they turn to other classic techniques, such as telemarketing and shipping out millions of promotional materials annually. According to Eric Kessler, this strategy proves successful, as between 1997 and 2002, HBO gained one million subscribers.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding bolsters expectations. (HBO at 30)." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2010.http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;type=retrieve&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;tabID=T003&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;prodId=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;docId=A94226674&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;source=gale&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;version=1.0</ref><br>
 
 
 
Some less traditional marketing techniques rely on creating buzz around the channel and its television shows in order to generate fresh interest. For example, HBO held the ''Band of Brothers'' series premiere on the beaches of Normandy, and turned ''The Sopranos'' premiere into a special event at Radio City Music Hall in order to magnify the hype surrounding these shows' debuts. By turning these premieres into special events, HBO, again, highlights its "It's Not TV. It's HBO" slogan.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding bolsters expectations. (HBO at 30)." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2010.http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;type=retrieve&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;tabID=T003&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;prodId=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;docId=A94226674&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;source=gale&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;version=1.0</ref>Additionally, buzz creates other ways of creating intrigue. Promoting ''True Blood'''s season 2 premiere, HBO joined forces with mainstream companies, such as Marc Ecko, Harley Davidson, Geico, and Gillete, to create advertisements supporting both the TV show, as well as the company. HBO was satisfied because they got their program advertised to consumers whom might normally be unexposed to their other campaigns, while the companies were equally satisfied because they benefited from the TV show's success.<ref>Clark, Christine. "Digital Kitchen Bloodies Brand Identities for HBO." 'boards. 4 June 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.boardsmag.com/articles/online/20090604/trueblood.html.</ref>Currently, a similar ad partnership is evolving between ''Boardwalk Empire''; and Harrah's, Macys, and Canadian Club.<ref>Cotton, Ed. "Scorcese, HBO, and Brands." Influx Entertainment. 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.influxinsights.com/blog/article/2563/scorcese--hbo-and-brands--cultural-propulsion.html.</ref>
 
 
 
One of the more well-known HBO brand campaigns, the HBO Voyeur Project, was publically revealed in June of 2007. The HBO Voyeur Project filmed a series of interconnected stories taking place across many urban apartments and featured them on HBOVoyeur.com, HBO Mobile, and HBO on Demand. The tag-line for the project was, "sometimes the best stories are the ones we were not meant to see" and was meant to play upon HBO's characteristically grand storytelling.<ref>Staff Report. "HBO Voyeur Peeks With Brand Plan." The Hollywood Reporter. 29 June 2007. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3icab172bb79f71a072811659c5c244d59.</ref>
 
 
 
== Target Audiences  ==
 
 
 
With seven channels, including HBO, HBO 2, HBO Comedy, HBO Family, HBO Signature, HBO Zone, and HBO Latino.&nbsp; HBO has extended its target audience from the 18-49 year old male demographic that the original channel attracted, to include a wide variety of demographics including women, minorities, and children. The breakdown is below:  
 
  
 
=== HBO  ===
 
=== HBO  ===
  
As the original channel, HBO shows feature films, sporting events, documentaries, original movies, original series, and comedy specials. It shows a little bit of everything that is seen on the other channels allowing it to attract a more diverse audience than many of the other channels. It does limit R-rated and TVMA rated programming after 8:00 ET, however the fact that they do still air PG-13 material during the day allows that the primary audience is generally from the 18-49 year old age group.  
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As the original channel, HBO shows feature films, sporting events, documentaries, original movies, original series, and comedy specials. It shows a mixture of the programming seen on the other channels, allowing it to attract a wider, more diverse audience than its more specific counterparts. It does limit R-rated and TVMA rated programming until after 8:00 PM&nbsp;ET, however the fact that it does still air PG-13 material during the day allows that its primary audience ranges from the 18-49 year old age group.  
  
 
=== HBO 2  ===
 
=== HBO 2  ===
  
HBO 2 features more movies and series than the original channel, and also airs R-rated films during daytime hours. For this reason like HBO it generally attracts 18-49 year olds.  
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HBO 2 features more movies and series than the original channel. It also airs R-rated films during daytime hours. For this reason, like HBO, it generally attracts 18-49 year old males.  
  
 
=== HBO Comedy  ===
 
=== HBO Comedy  ===
  
In showing comedic films and series and in airing adult comedy specials at night, HBO Comedy caters it's programming to the 18-35 year old demographic as well as minorities.  
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Showing comedic films, series, and adult comedy specials, HBO Comedy caters its programming to a 18-35 year old demographic as well as minorities.  
  
 
=== HBO Family  ===
 
=== HBO Family  ===
  
HBO Family is designed to cater to a younger audience as well as showing programming that the whole family can enjoy. Like many other stations directed toward families, the earlier morning hours are filled with shows directed toward a pre-school age audience. Mid-afternoon (Generally around 1) brings G, PG, or PG-13 rated movies to the channel, and R and TVMA programs will never be shown. <br>  
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HBO Family caters to a younger audience by showing programming that the whole family can enjoy. Like many other channels that target families, the early morning hours are filled with shows directed toward a pre-school age audience. Mid-afternoon (generally around 1 PM) brings G, PG, or PG-13 rated movies to the channel, and R and TVMA programs will never be shown. <br>  
  
 
=== HBO Signature  ===
 
=== HBO Signature  ===
  
Showing mainly original, feature, or original series films, HBO Signature tailors its programming towards women of all ages. <br>  
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Showing mainly original, feature, or original series films, HBO Signature tailors its programming toward women of all ages. <br>  
  
 
=== HBO Zone  ===
 
=== HBO Zone  ===
  
In broadcasting softcore pornographic movies at night, HBO Zone caters itself to the 18 to 35 male demographic.  
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In broadcasting soft-core pornographic movies at night, HBO Zone caters itself to the 18 to 35 male demographic.  
  
 
=== HBO Latino  ===
 
=== HBO Latino  ===
  
This is a Spanish language version of the original HBO and broadcasts almost the exact same programs. It also airs spanish language films, and original HBO series dubbed in Spanish. One of the things unique to this channel is that it airs boxing events. This channel narrowcasts to a latino population but again more specifically targets those in the 18-35 range.  
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This is a Spanish language version of the original HBO and broadcasts almost the exact same programs, but dubs them in Spanish. Uniquely, this channel airs boxing events. HBO Latino narrowcasts to a Latino population but again more specifically targets those in the 18-35 range.  
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HBO does not only rely on its own company, and the subscription model, to generate profits, but also on corporate collaborations. For example, in an effort to promote the season 2 premiere of ''True Blood'', HBO joined forces with mainstream companies, such as Marc Ecko, Harley Davidson, Geico, and Gillete to create products that advertised both the TV show as well as the partner company. Both companies benefited as the collaboration allowed for them to reach consumers that they might otherwise not.<ref>Clark, Christine. "Digital Kitchen Bloodies Brand Identities for HBO." 'boards. 4 June 2009. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.boardsmag.com/articles/online/20090604/trueblood.html.</ref> Currently, a similar ad partnership is evolving between ''Boardwalk Empire'' and Harrah's, Macys, and Canadian Club.<ref>Cotton, Ed. "Scorcese, HBO, and Brands." Influx Entertainment. 16 Aug. 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.influxinsights.com/blog/article/2563/scorcese--hbo-and-brands--cultural-propulsion.html.</ref>
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== Branding and Advertising Strategies  ==
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Whereas many channels allocate a large portion of their funding to advertising in an effort to create a "brand," HBO budgets the bulk of its branding dollars to programming. As vice president of HBO marketing Eric Kessler explains: "At the end of the day, the brand is all about the programming. The campaign `It's Not TV. It's HBO' works because the programming is so incredible," says Kessler. "What people remember about HBO isn't a slogan. It's ''The Sopranos''. It's ''Sex and the City''. It's ''Six Feet Under''."<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding Bolsters Expectations." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;type=retrieve&amp;tabID=T003&amp;prodId=AONE&amp;docId=A94226674&amp;source=gale&amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;version=1.0fckLR</ref>In fact, they rely on the idea that the programming should speak for itself so much, that an ad shot by Annie Leibovitz in 2002 promoting the new season, didn't even include the show's title, and instead relied on the fact that ''The Sopranos ''was one of the most watched shows at the time.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding Bolsters Expectations." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;type=retrieve&amp;tabID=T003&amp;prodId=AONE&amp;docId=A94226674&amp;source=gale&amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;version=1.0fckLR</ref>
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While "It's Not TV. It's HBO" is no longer HBO's current slogan, many HBO advertisements still center on the idea of HBO being able to offer more than what other channels offer. Aside from promising exceptional programming, audiences can expect HBO shows to have strong casts, usually made up of famous actors, as well as distinguished production teams. Additionally, HBO greatly differs from network television with its cancellation policy. Network TV heavily relies on ratings, and thus is forced to cancel show with low ratings; often this spells disaster for new shows with potential, but take too long to find their fan base. Because HBO operates on a subscription basis, it can keep shows, regardless of ratings. Therefore, HBO has the liberty to pick up and keep as many new shows it desires. By showing their commitment to keeping their programming consistent, they set themselves apart from other channels.<ref>Weinman, Jaime. "Get a Show on HBO and You're Set for Life." Macleans. 1 Sept. 2010. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/09/01/get-a-show-on-hbo-and-youre-set-for-life.</ref>
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As mentioned above, HBO viewers must subscribe to HBO, as HBO is not a part of basic cable packages. While relying on programming is a good technique for keeping current subscribers and occasionally attracting new ones, this method does not attract the number of new subscribers that HBO wants or needs. Therefore, they turn to other classic techniques, such as telemarketing and shipping out millions of promotional materials annually. According to Eric Kessler, this strategy proves successful, as between 1997 and 2002, HBO gained one million subscribers.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding Bolsters Expectations." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;type=retrieve&amp;tabID=T003&amp;prodId=AONE&amp;docId=A94226674&amp;source=gale&amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;version=1.0fckLR</ref><br>
  
While the nature of the HBO target audience has changed with the addition of new channels, the majority of programming still attracts the 18 to 35 year old male demographic.  
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Some less traditional marketing techniques rely on creating buzz around the channel and its television shows in order to generate fresh interest. For example, HBO held the ''Band of Brothers'' series premiere on the beaches of Normandy, and turned ''The Sopranos'' premiere into a special event at Radio City Music Hall in order to magnify the hype surrounding these shows' debuts. By turning these premieres into special events, HBO, again, highlights its "It's Not TV. It's HBO" slogan.<ref>Bernstein, Paula. "Branding Bolsters Expectations." Variety 388.12 (2002): A9+. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy.middlebury.edu/gtx/infomark.do?&amp;contentSet=IAC-Documents&amp;type=retrieve&amp;tabID=T003&amp;prodId=AONE&amp;docId=A94226674&amp;source=gale&amp;srcprod=AONE&amp;userGroupName=vol_m58c&amp;version=1.0fckLR</ref>
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One of the more well-known HBO brand campaigns, the HBO Voyeur Project, was publically revealed in June of 2007. The HBO Voyeur Project filmed a series of interconnected stories taking place across many urban apartments and featured them on HBOVoyeur.com, HBO Mobile, and HBO on Demand. The tag-line for the project was, "sometimes the best stories are the ones we were not meant to see," which played on HBO's characteristically grand storytelling.<ref>Staff Report. "HBO Voyeur Peeks With Brand Plan." The Hollywood Reporter. 29 June 2007. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.videoactivereport.com/hbo_launches_multiplatform_voyeuristic_storytelling_venture</ref>
  
 
== Ownership and Conglomeration<br>  ==
 
== Ownership and Conglomeration<br>  ==
  
In 1973, Time Inc. purchased “HBO” from Sterling Communications. With the merging of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc., HBO joined Time Warner in May 1989<ref>Reuters. "Time-Warner Merger Cleared." The New York Times 27 May 1989. The New York Times. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/27/business/time-warner-merger-cleared.html.</ref>.&nbsp; Currently, Time Warner owns HBO<ref>"Time Warner: HBO. Home Box Office." Time Warner Inc. 11 June 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://www.timewarner.com/corp/businesses/detail/hbo/index.html.</ref>.
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In 1973, Time Inc. purchased “HBO” from Sterling Communications. With the merging of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc., HBO joined Time Warner in May 1989.<ref>Reuters. "Time-Warner Merger Cleared." The New York Times 27 May 1989. The New York Times. Web. 7 Oct. 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/27/business/time-warner-merger-cleared.html.</ref>&nbsp; Currently, Time Warner owns HBO.<ref>"Time Warner: HBO. Home Box Office." Time Warner Inc. 11 June 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://www.timewarner.com/corp/businesses/detail/hbo/index.html.</ref>  
  
 
Within HBO Inc., HBO possesses the following auxiliary brands: <br>  
 
Within HBO Inc., HBO possesses the following auxiliary brands: <br>  
Line 80: Line 78:
 
*E! Latin America Channel<br>
 
*E! Latin America Channel<br>
  
One of the largest media conglomerates, Time Warner notably owns the following companies and their respective brands: Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Time Inc.<ref>"Time Warner: Our Family of Brands and Supporting Organizations." Time Warner Inc. 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://www.timewarner.com/corp/businesses/index.html.</ref>. <br>  
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One of the largest media conglomerates, Time Warner notably owns the following companies and their respective brands: Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Time Inc.<ref>"Time Warner: Our Family of Brands and Supporting Organizations." Time Warner Inc. 2010. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. http://www.timewarner.com/corp/businesses/index.html.</ref> <br>  
  
 
== Signature Programming and Genre Trends<ref>"HBO." 2010.http://www.hbo.com/ (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>  ==
 
== Signature Programming and Genre Trends<ref>"HBO." 2010.http://www.hbo.com/ (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>  ==
  
Evidence of its original, critically acclaimed programming, HBO has annually received the greatest number of Emmy nominations of any network since 2001<ref>Zeidler, Sue. "HBO dominates Emmy nods for 10th straight year." July 8, 2010.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6675GZ20100708 (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>. Accredited to its success, HBO, as a premium cable service, can broadcast programs containing graphic nudity, violence, profanity, and other adult content. Capturing numerous genres, HBO's programming fits into eight categories: drama series, comedy series, miniseries, original films, documentaries, sports, talk shows, and performances.  
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Evidence of its original, critically-acclaimed programming, HBO has annually received the greatest number of Emmy nominations of any network since 2001.<ref>Zeidler, Sue. "HBO dominates Emmy nods for 10th straight year." July 8, 2010.http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6675GZ20100708 (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>&nbsp; Capturing numerous genres, HBO's programming fits into eight categories: drama series, comedy series, miniseries, original films, documentaries, sports, talk shows, and performances.  
  
 
=== Drama Series  ===
 
=== Drama Series  ===
  
HBO's dramas concentrate on various genres, such as family life (''Big Love'', ''Six Feet Under''), history (''Deadwood'', ''Rome''), and crime (''The Sopranos'',&nbsp;''Oz'', ''Boardwalk Empire'',''The Wire''). Currently HBO features five drama programs: ''Boardwalk Empire'', ''True Blood'', ''Big Love'', ''Treme'', and ''In Treatment''.  
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HBO's dramas concentrate on various genres, such as family life (''Big Love'', ''Six Feet Under''), history (''Deadwood'', ''Rome''), and crime (''The Sopranos'',&nbsp;''Oz'', ''Boardwalk Empire'', ''The Wire''). Currently HBO features five dramas: ''Boardwalk Empire'', ''True Blood'', ''Big Love'', ''Treme'', and ''In Treatment''.  
  
 
=== Comedy Series  ===
 
=== Comedy Series  ===
  
HBO has produced breakthrough hits for young comedians (''Flight of the Conchords'', ''Da Ali G Show'') as well as successful series with established comedians (''The Larry Sanders Show'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm''). HBO comedy series often deal with show business (''Entourage'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'', ''Extras''), the literary world (''Sex and the City'', ''Bored to Death''), sports (''Arliss'', ''Eastbound and Down'') and&nbsp;sketch comedy (''Mr. Show with Bob and David'', ''Tracey Takes On...''). Currently HBO features six comedy programs: ''Entourage'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'', ''Bored to Death'', ''Eastbound and Down'', ''Hung'', and ''How to Make It In America.''  
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HBO has produced breakthrough hits for young comedians (''Flight of the Conchords'', ''Da Ali G Show'') as well as successful series with established comedians (''The Larry Sanders Show'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm''). HBO comedy series often deal with show business (''Entourage'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'', ''Extras''), the literary world (''Sex and the City'', ''Bored to Death''), sports (''Arliss'', ''Eastbound and Down'') and&nbsp;sketch comedy (''Mr. Show with Bob and David'', ''Tracey Takes On...''). Currently HBO features six comedy programs: ''Entourage'', ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'', ''Bored to Death'', ''Eastbound and Down'', ''Hung'', and ''How to Make It in America.''  
  
 
=== Miniseries  ===
 
=== Miniseries  ===
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=== Original Films  ===
 
=== Original Films  ===
  
Confirmation of its successful innovation, HBO has won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie nine out of ten years<ref>"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie." August 30, 2010.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primetime_Emmy_Award_for_Outstanding_Made_for_Television_Movie (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>. Some notable films include ''Something the Lord Made'', ''Truman'', ''Miss Evers' Boys'', ''The Girl in the Cafe'', and ''Recount.''<br>  
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Confirmation of its strong programming, HBO has won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie nine out of ten years.<ref>"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie." August 30, 2010.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primetime_Emmy_Award_for_Outstanding_Made_for_Television_Movie (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref> Some notable films include ''Something the Lord Made'', ''Truman'', ''Miss Evers' Boys'', ''The Girl in the Cafe'', and ''Recount.''<br>  
  
 
=== Documentaries  ===
 
=== Documentaries  ===
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=== Performances  ===
 
=== Performances  ===
  
As well as featuring regular performance programs such as ''Def Poetry ''and ''Def Comedy Jam'', HBO often showcases musical and comedy specials such as ''The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert''&nbsp;and ''You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.'' <br>  
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As well as featuring regular performance programs such as ''Def Poetry ''and ''Def Comedy Jam'', HBO often showcases musical and comedy specials such as ''The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert''&nbsp;and ''You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.'' <br>
  
 
== Scheduling<ref>"HBO." 2010.http://www.hbo.com/ (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>  ==
 
== Scheduling<ref>"HBO." 2010.http://www.hbo.com/ (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>  ==
  
HBO primarily divides its schedule between original programming and movies. HBO's premier original line-up airs on Sunday from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Normally this line-up consists of two half-hour comedies followed by one hour-long drama (or vice versa). Other original programmings, such as talk/variety shows, appear on various nights during prime time. Special programs, such as miniseries, comedy specials, boxing events, or HBO original films, appear during prime time at a heavily advertised date (usually during a weekend). Re-runs of original programming play frequently at different times. Often HBO will schedule a marathon of episodes from a series to allow viewers to keep up with the series. Because of the mature elements often present in HBO's original programming, rarely will a series sell into syndication. However, when this does occur (e.g. ''Sex and the City'' playing on TBS), HBO will edit the syndicated program to satisfy the regulations of the channel it is playing on.<br>  
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HBO primarily divides its schedule between original programming and movies. HBO's premier, original line-up airs on Sunday from 9&nbsp;PM ET to 11 PM ET. Normally this line-up consists of two half-hour comedies followed by one hour-long drama (or vice versa; termed "hammocking"). Other original programming, such as talk/variety shows, appear on various nights during prime time. Special programs, such as miniseries, comedy specials, boxing events, or HBO original films, appear during prime time on heavily advertised dates (usually a weekend). Re-runs of original programming play frequently at different times. Often HBO schedules a marathon of various series to allow viewers to keep up. Because of the mature elements often present in HBO's original programming, rarely will HBO sell a series into syndication.&nbsp; When this does occur (e.g. ''Sex and the City'' playing on TBS), HBO will heavily edit the syndicated program to satisfy the regulations of the channel it will play on.<br>
  
With its unoccupied airtime, HBO broadcasts movies. Feature films making their first appearance on television premier on Saturday evenings. HBO commonly plays films several times a day or week to give viewers multiple opportunities to view a particular film (however, DVR has diminished this feature’s importance). Additionally, HBO now has an On Demand feature for much of its original programming.<br>
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= HBO On Demand =
  
== Related Channels  ==
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With its unoccupied airtime, HBO broadcasts movies. Feature films making their first appearance on television premier on Saturday evenings. HBO commonly plays films several times a day or week to give viewers multiple opportunities to view a particular film (however, DVR has diminished this feature’s importance).&nbsp; This service offers over 140 HBO programs to subscribers and is accessible from subscribers' cable/satellite/fiber-optic service. On Demand features a variety of series, movies, documentaries, specials, and sports programming. Content is normally offered for a fixed period of time, and certain seasons/episodes of ended series, such as ''The Sopranos'', are also available at various times. HBO On Demand is a popular off-line alternative to services, such as Hulu and Netflix, and is consistent with HBO's subscriber-only business model.<ref>"HBO On Demand. It's HBO. Anytime.." 2010.http://www.hboondemand.com/ (accessed December 2, 2010).</ref>  
 
 
Seven channels fall under the HBO umbrella, not including Cinemax, which is HBO's sister network.<br>
 
 
 
The channels are<ref>"HBO." 2010.http://www.hbo.com/ (accessed October 7, 2010).</ref>:
 
 
 
*HBO- the original channel, offered by some services in both a Eastern and Pacific feed.
 
*HBO 2- plays similar films as the original channel, as well as reruns of series.
 
*HBO Comedy- plays comedy films and reruns of comedy series and specials.
 
*HBO Family- plays films and specials aimed at children (with no films rated R). Also plays series aimed at children in the morning hours.
 
*HBO Signature- plays more critically-acclaimed films.
 
*HBO Zone- programming for a mature audience, with softcore pornography airing at night.
 
*HBO Latino- mostly plays the feed from the original channel dubbed Spanish, but also airs specifically Spanish-language films and sports events.
 
  
 
<br>  
 
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== Textual Analysis<br>  ==
 
== Textual Analysis<br>  ==
  
=== True Blood<br>  ===
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=== ''True Blood''<br>  ===
  
Based on Charlaine Harris’ a book series ''Southern Vampire'', ''True Blood'' is an HBO original series produced by Alan Ball. Following ''Six Feet Under''’s series finale, Ball signed a two-year contract to develop new original programming for HBO, with ''True Blood ''becoming his first project<ref>Schneider, Michael. "HBO Rolls with Ball's 'True Blood' - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 09 Aug. 2007. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117969971?refCatId=14&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref>. The show debuted on HBO on September 7, 2008 with 1.44 million viewers<ref>Frankel, Daniel (2008-09-09). "1.4 million tune into 'True Blood'". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117991937.html?categoryid=1237&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;cs=1&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;query=True+Blood. Retrieved 2010-11-04.</ref>. Steadily gaining a loyal viewership with each season, the show garnered 5.38 million viewers during the third season’s finale, which aired on September 12, 2010<ref>Seidman, Robert. "Cable Top 25: VMAs, Boise State, The Closer &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Rizzoli &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Isles Top Week’s Cable Viewing." TV Ratings, TV Nielsen Ratings, Television Show Ratings | TVbytheNumbers.com. 14 Sept. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/09/14/cable-top-25-vmas-boise-state-the-closer-rizzoli-isles-top-week’s-cable-viewing/63194&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref>. Currently, HBO has renewed ''True Blood ''for a fourth season.  
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Based on Charlaine Harris’ book series ''Southern Vampire'', ''True Blood'' is an HBO original series produced by Alan Ball. Following ''Six Feet Under''’s series finale, Ball signed a two-year contract to develop new original programming for HBO; ''True Blood ''became his first project.<ref>Schneider, Michael. "HBO Rolls with Ball's 'True Blood' - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 09 Aug. 2007. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117969971?refCatId=14</ref> On September 7, 2008, the show debuted on HBO with 1.44 million viewers.<ref>Frankel, Daniel (2008-09-09). "1.4 million tune into 'True Blood'". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117991937.html?categoryid=1237 Retrieved 2010-11-04.</ref> Steadily gaining a loyal viewership with each season, the show ultimately garnered 5.38 million viewers during the third season’s finale, which aired on September 12, 2010.<ref>Seidman, Robert. "Cable Top 25: VMAs, Boise State, The Closer, Top Week’s Cable Viewing." TV Ratings, TV Nielsen Ratings, Television Show Ratings | TVbytheNumbers.com. 14 Sept. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/09/14/cable-top-25-vmas-boise-state-the-closer-rizzoli-isles-top-week’s-cable-viewing/63194 </ref> Currently, HBO has renewed ''True Blood'' for a fourth season.  
  
Fixed in fantasy, ''True Blood ''is a dramatic serial fantasy that takes place in Bon Temps, Louisiana just two years after the revolutionary development of “TruBlood,” a synthetic blood beverage (for which the show gains its title). Capturing the town’s mixed relations concerning vampires, the show follows its characters, especially at the local bar, Merlotts’. One consistent main plot throughout all three seasons traces the relationship between Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress, Bill Compton, a 173-year old vampire whom she meets in “Strange Love” (1.1). Apparent in the show’s existing three seasons, the show explores ideas of prejudice, drug use, and gay rights via the interplay between humans and supernatural creatures, such as vampires, shape shifters, and werewolves.  
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Fixed in a fantasy world with vampires, ''True Blood'' is a dramatic serial set in Bon Temps, Louisiana just two years after the revolutionary development of “TruBlood,” a synthetic blood beverage (for which the show gains its title). Capturing the town’s mixed-relations concerning vampires, the show follows its characters, especially at the local bar, Merlotts’. One consistent main plot throughout all three seasons traces the relationship between Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress, and Bill Compton, a 173-year old vampire whom she meets in “Strange Love” (1.1). Apparent in the show’s existing three seasons, the show allegorically explores ideas of prejudice, drug use, and gay rights via the interplay between humans and supernatural creatures, such as vampires, shape shifters, and werewolves.  
  
<br>Deeply embodying HBO’s slogan of “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO,” ''True Blood ''conveys fantastical themes through depictions of explicit sex and violence that no other channel would either fund or display. As one critic noted, “Take away the graphic sex, and True Blood could air on USA Network.”<ref>Poniewozik, James. "Undead on Arrival - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 04 Sept. 2008. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1838758,00.html</ref> Equally, ''True Blood ''without illicit sex and seemingly graphic violence would not be ''True Blood. &nbsp;''Ultimately, these conventions draw new subscribers to HBO.  
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Deeply embodying HBO’s slogan “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO,” ''True Blood ''conveys fantastical themes through depictions of explicit sex and violence that no other channel would either fund or display. As one critic noted, “Take away the graphic sex, and True Blood could air on USA Network.”<ref>Poniewozik, James. "Undead on Arrival - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 04 Sept. 2008. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1838758,00.html</ref> Equally, ''True Blood'' without illicit sex and seemingly graphic violence would not be ''True Blood''. Ultimately, these conventions draw new subscribers to HBO.&nbsp; Initial critical reactions to ''True Blood ''were mixed. For instance, ''Time ''magazine’s generally reviewed the show’s premiere by writing that:  
<blockquote>Initial critical reactions to ''True Blood ''were mixed. For instance, ''Time ''magazine’s generally reviewed the show’s premiere by writing that:<br>“Ball's characters, living and dead, are caricatures. He once said the only meddling HBO ever did on ''Six Feet Under ''was to ask him to make it less conventional, and he could have used that kind of intervention this time. For a show about prejudice, ''True ''Blood is free with stereotypes: Sookie's sassy black friend, the flaming gay cook and sundry racist Juh-hee-sus-fearing rednecks.<ref>Poniewozik, James. "Undead on Arrival - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 04 Sept. 2008. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1838758,00.html</ref></blockquote>  
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<blockquote>Ball's characters, living and dead, are caricatures. He once said the only meddling HBO ever did on ''Six Feet Under ''was to ask him to make it less conventional, and he could have used that kind of intervention this time. For a show about prejudice, ''True ''Blood is free with stereotypes: Sookie's sassy black friend, the flaming gay cook and sundry racist Juh-hee-sus-fearing rednecks. <ref>Poniewozik, James. "Undead on Arrival - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. 04 Sept. 2008. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1838758,00.html</ref> </blockquote>  
Positive critical acclaim for the series only started to accumulate after "Sparks Fly Out" (1.5). Similarly, ''True Blood''’s first season received a favorable rating of 64 on Metacritic<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-1</ref>, a 74 for the show’s second season<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-2</ref>, and a 79 for its third season<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-3</ref>. In terms of popular viewing, ''True Blood ''currently exists as HBO’s most watched series since ''The Sopranos''.<ref>Toff, Benjamin. "ARTS, BRIEFLY - Victories For NBC, MTV and 'True Blood' - Brief - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Multimedia. 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02E4DE1539F935A2575AC0A96F9C8B63&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref> The show’s creative success materializes in its annual multiple Emmys and Golden Globes since its premiere. By the end of 2009, the first season DVD had sold over 1.6 million units and grossed over $57 million; it was the only TV show in the 50 Top-Selling DVDs of 2009<ref>"Top Selling DVDs of 2009." The Numbers - Movie Box Office Data, Film Stars, Idle Speculation. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.the-numbers.com/dvd/charts/annual/2009.php&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref>.
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Positive critical acclaim for the series only started to accumulate after "Sparks Fly Out" (1.5). Similarly, ''True Blood''’s first season received a favorable rating of 64 on Metacritic,<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-1</ref> a 74 for the show’s second season,<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-2</ref> and a 79 for its third season.<ref>http://www.metacritic.com/tv/true-blood/season-3</ref> In terms of popular viewing, ''True Blood ''currently exists as HBO’s most watched series since ''The Sopranos''.<ref>Toff, Benjamin. "ARTS, BRIEFLY - Victories For NBC, MTV and 'True Blood' - Brief - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News Multimedia. 16 Sept. 2009. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E02E4DE1539F935A2575AC0A96F9C8B63</ref> The show’s creative success materializes in its annual multiple Emmys and Golden Globes since its premiere. By the end of 2009, the first season DVD had sold over 1.6 million units and grossed over $57 million; it was the only TV show in the 50 Top-Selling DVDs of 2009.<ref>"Top Selling DVDs of 2009." The Numbers - Movie Box Office Data, Film Stars, Idle Speculation. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://www.the-numbers.com/dvd/charts/annual/2009.php </ref>  
  
While many note HBO’s capitalization on the current vampire fad, ''True Blood ''targets a more mature audience than those of other pop-culture vampire representations, such as the CW’s ''The Vampire ''Diaries or Stephanie Myers’s ''Twilight ''franchise. Additionally, the show attracts an atypically-wide viewership from a liberally-minded fifteen to forty-nine year old demographic by presenting content mostly devoid of race, gender, or sexual orientation. For example, ''<span style="font-style: italic;">a blog on</span>''<span style="font-style: italic;"> Antenna</span> posits that “[''True Blood'']’s extreme sexual violence and voyeuristic viewership invites male viewers even where the initial topic of a female protagonist and her vampire lover might not.”<ref>Busse, Kristina. "Vampire Shows and Gendered Quality Television | Antenna." Antenna | Responses to Media and Culture. 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2010/08/26/vampire-shows-and-gendered-quality-television/&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref>''Rolling ''Stone also explains that the show refrains from alienating its homosexual viewers not only highlighting, but also sincerely exploring homosexual relationships and sex. ''Rolling Stone ''observes that in ''True Blood'', “every available orifice is used for intercourse: gay, straight, between humans and supernatural beings, and supernatural being on supernatural being.”<ref>Grigoriadis, Vanessa. "The Joy of Vampire Sex: The Secrets of 'True Blood' | Rolling Stone Culture." Rolling Stone | Music News, Reviews, Photos, Videos, Interviews and More. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/17389/191809&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</ref> To further fascinate its target audience, the show strategically uses unique scheduling techniques. While the first season aired from September to November, the following two seasons aired during the summer, a time when the bulk of the show’s target audience, particularly its school-aged demographic, can devote more time to follow the series.  
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While many note HBO’s capitalization on the current vampire fad, ''True Blood ''targets a more mature audience than those of other pop-culture vampire representations, such as the CW’s ''The Vampire ''Diaries or Stephanie Myers’s ''Twilight ''franchise. Additionally, the show attracts an atypically-wide viewership from a liberally-minded fifteen to forty-nine year old demographic by presenting content mostly devoid of race, gender, or sexual orientation. For example, ''<span style="font-style: italic;">a blog on</span>''<span style="font-style: italic;"> Antenna</span> posits that “[''True Blood'']’s extreme sexual violence and voyeuristic viewership invites male viewers even where the initial topic of a female protagonist and her vampire lover might not.”<ref>Busse, Kristina. "Vampire Shows and Gendered Quality Television | Antenna." Antenna | Responses to Media and Culture. 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://blog.commarts.wisc.edu/2010/08/26/vampire-shows-and-gendered-quality-television/</ref>''Rolling ''Stone also explains that the show refrains from alienating its homosexual viewers not only highlighting, but also sincerely exploring homosexual relationships and sex. ''Rolling Stone ''observes that in ''True Blood'', “every available orifice is used for intercourse: gay, straight, between humans and supernatural beings, and supernatural being on supernatural being.”<ref>Grigoriadis, Vanessa. "The Joy of Vampire Sex: The Secrets of 'True Blood' | Rolling Stone Culture." Rolling Stone | Music News, Reviews, Photos, Videos, Interviews and More. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 05 Nov. 2010. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/17389/191809</ref> To further fascinate its target audience, the show strategically uses unique scheduling techniques. While the first season aired from September to November, the following two seasons aired during the summer, a time when the bulk of the show’s target audience, particularly its school-aged demographic, can devote more time to follow the series.  
  
Aligned with HBO’s commitment to showcase contemporary political matters, True Blood culturally depicts vampires as a marginalized minority group. While ''True Blood''’s setting in the Deep South undeniably recalls a past rooted in racism, an updated form of bigotry against vampires predominantly arises. Located within a time when vampires already exist, ''True Blood ''focuses on the assimilation of vampires—the Other—into a human-dominated world. However, unlike the visibility of racial discrimination of skin color, the distinctions between vampires and humans appear socially invisible, except in vampires’ queer lifestyles: diurnal sleeping cycles, feeding patterns, and unbridled sexual appetites. Attempting to alleviate “racial” tensions, some vampires drink “TruBlood.In fact, some humans support vampires and their goal of integration. Conversely, not all vampires wish to assimilate into “above-ground” society, as they feel that they will lose what makes them vampires. Some vampires terrorize humans to preserve a pure vampire culture. Many opponents contest vampire assimilation. Unspoken, the divide over civil rights that HBO projects certainly seems to parallel those of contemporary political activity concerning LGBT rights. For example, much of the vilification of vampires surfaces in similar homophobic comments such as “God Hates Fangs” (analogous to “God Hates Fags”). Additionally, the news coverage sequences on ''True Blood ''between vampires/vampire-advocates and vampire-haters mirror those of current events involving televised debates over LGBT rights. Much social anxiety surrounds both vampire and LGBT rights.
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Aligned with HBO’s commitment to showcase contemporary political issue, ''True Blood'' culturally depicts vampires as a marginalized minority group.&nbsp; In fact, ''True Blood''’s setting in the Deep South undeniably recalls a past rooted in racism.&nbsp; However, now an updated form of bigotry against vampires also exists.&nbsp; Located within a time when vampires already exist, ''True Blood ''primarily focuses on the assimilation of vampires—the Other—into a human-dominated world. Unlike the visibility of racial discrimination inherent in skin color, the distinctions between vampires and humans appear socially invisible, except in the queer lifestyles of vampires: diurnal sleeping cycles, feeding patterns, and unbridled sexual appetites. Attempting to humanize themselves, some vampires drink “TruBlood” to alleviate “racial” tensions. In fact, some humans recognize their efforts, and consequently support vampires and their goal of integration. Conversely, not all vampires wish to assimilate into “above-ground” society, as they feel it will compromise their vampire identity. For example, some vampires terrorize humans to preserve their pure vampire culture. Unfortunately, some humans view these vampires' goals as threats to human safety.&nbsp; Accordingly, these humans oppose the assimilation of vampires.&nbsp; Many opposing humans are a part of The Fellowship of the Sun, a religion based on anti-vampirism. The divide over civil rights that HBO projects undeniably parallels those of contemporary political activity concerning LGBT rights. For instance, much of the vilification of vampires surfaces in similar homophobic comments such as “God Hates Fangs” (analogous to “God Hates Fags”). Additionally, the news coverage sequences on ''True Blood ''between "good" vampires/vampire-advocates and "bad" vampires/vampire-haters mirror those of current events involving televised debates over LGBT rights. <br>
  
Chiefly depicted through the arguments of the show’s right-wing fanatics—such as religious adherents of the anti-vampire Fellowship of the Sun—vampiric integration in a human world allegedly engenders nefariousness. In one of the series’ opening scenes, the ramifications of having sex with a vampire become evident when a male vampire sex kills his female lover (termed a “fang banger”). Additionally, many radicals disapprove of the inter-“racial” romance between Sookie and Bill; his vampiric wickedness will damage Sookie. While vampire-opponents incessantly condemn vampires for the immorality they bring, many of vampire enemies hypocritically engage in these dissolute activities. Furthermore, the show also portrays modern views on drugs and its trafficking. In the show vampire blood stands in for a novel drug. The hallucinatory effects of vampire blood resemble those of drugs, such as ecstasy. Similar to ecstasy and its colloquial moniker of “X," vampire blood bears the nickname “V.” In addition to its euphoric effects, “V” induces hyper-sexual arousal, like Viagra. A drug, vampire blood becomes addicting to the point of corruption. “V” is sold “underground.”  
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Taking advantage of its placement on HBO, ''True Blood'' depicts explicit, immoral acts by ascribing these social anxieties as individual to the introduction of vampires on the show.&nbsp; In one of the series’ opening scenes, the ramifications of having sex with a vampire become evident when a male vampire has (ferocious) sex with a female lover, and then murderers her (colloquially termed a “fang banger”); HBO brashly shows this wild sex scene.&nbsp; Many fervent radicals disapprove of the inter-“racial” romance between Sookie and Bill because they believe his vampiric wickedness will damage Sookie--or rather that the human culture will become polluted with tainted vampire blood.&nbsp; Furthermore, the show also portrays modern views on drugs and its trafficking by using "vampire blood" as a novel drug resembling ecstasy. Similar to ecstasy and its colloquial moniker of “X," vampire blood bears the nickname “V.”&nbsp; In addition to its euphoric effects, “V” induces hyper-sexual arousal, like Viagra. A drug, vampire blood becomes addicting to the point of corruption. “V” is sold “underground.” &nbsp;However, while vampire-opponents incessantly condemn vampires for their immorality, many vampire enemies hypocritically engage in these same dissolute activities.&nbsp; Again, much of the behaviors of vampire-haters emulate the conduct of modern politicians.&nbsp;
  
<br>New episodes of ''True Blood ''air on Sunday nights at 9, thereby fitting in HBO’s typical scheduling model of “hammocking” a drama in between two half-hour comedies. After its debut on Sunday, a new episode will often air multiple times during the week in order to allow for all viewers to keep up with the series. <br><br>  
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Fitting into HBO’s typical scheduling model of “hammocking," new episodes of ''True Blood ''air on Sunday nights at 9 PM&nbsp;EST. After its debut on Sunday, a new episode will often air multiple times during the week in order to allow for all viewers with different schedules to keep up with the series. <br>
  
=== Flight of the Conchords<br>  ===
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=== ''Flight of the Conchords''<br>  ===
  
 
“New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo"<ref>Cobb, Mark H. "Flight of the Conchords are silly fun New Zealand comic group makes the leap from Youtube to HBO." August 10, 2007.http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20070810/TUSK02/708100302/-1/tusk02 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>  
 
“New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo"<ref>Cobb, Mark H. "Flight of the Conchords are silly fun New Zealand comic group makes the leap from Youtube to HBO." August 10, 2007.http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20070810/TUSK02/708100302/-1/tusk02 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>  
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An episodic sitcom on HBO, ''Flight of the Conchords'' (''FOTC'') follows show creators/stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, two New Zealander musicians living in Brooklyn. The show, which originally aired in 2007, was critically and had a strong following, especially in DVD sales. Despite its success, Clement and McKenzie announced the show’s ending in late 2009.  
 
An episodic sitcom on HBO, ''Flight of the Conchords'' (''FOTC'') follows show creators/stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, two New Zealander musicians living in Brooklyn. The show, which originally aired in 2007, was critically and had a strong following, especially in DVD sales. Despite its success, Clement and McKenzie announced the show’s ending in late 2009.  
  
The show’s title refers to Jemaine and Bret’s real-life comedy folk band, which existed prior to the creation of the HBO program. In fact, the musicians garnered so much success on the live comedy circuit in 2005 that BBC 2 picked them up as a radio show<ref>"Radio 2 Comedy: The Flight of the Conchords." http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/comedy/conchords.shtml (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>. Thereafter, the duo made their way onto several television spots, including an HBO special and performances on late night programs from Letterman to Conan<ref>"Late Show With Dave Letterman." http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/wahoo/index/php/20070611.phtml (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>. The show gained increasing critical acclaim and popularity over the course of its two-season run, with the first season earning four Emmy Nominations<ref>http://www.emmys.tv/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>&nbsp;and a 68/100 rating on metacritic.com and the second season earning six Emmy nominations with an 80/100 rating on metacritic.com<ref>"Flight of the Conchords." http://www.metacritic.com/tv/flight-of-the-conchords/season-2 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>. While the show did not acquire phenomenal Nielsen ratings<ref>Levin, Gary. "Nielsens: 'Closer' rebounds; few warmed to 'Earth'." July 10, 2007.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2007-07-10-nielsens-analysis_N.htm (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref><ref>Levin, Gary. "Nielsens: For openers, try 'Closer'." June 26, 2007.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2007-06-26-nielsens-analysis_N.htm (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>, it sold on DVD wonderfully. In fact, the second season topped TV show DVD sales for a week in August 2009<ref>Seidman, Robert. "Flight of the Conchords second season leads TV Show DVDs, True Blood still strong." August 18, 2009.http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/08/18/flight-of-the-conchords-second-season-leads-tv-show-dvds-true-blood-still-strong/24941 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>.  
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The show’s title refers to Jemaine and Bret’s real-life comedy folk band, which existed prior to the creation of the HBO program. In fact, the musicians garnered so much success on the live comedy circuit in 2005 that BBC 2 picked them up as a radio show.<ref>"Radio 2 Comedy: The Flight of the Conchords." http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/comedy/conchords.shtml (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref> Thereafter, the duo made their way onto several television spots, including an HBO special and performances on late night programs from Letterman to Conan.<ref>"Late Show With Dave Letterman." http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/wahoo/index/php/20070611.phtml (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref> The show gained increasing critical acclaim and popularity over the course of its two-season run, with the first season earning four Emmy Nominations<ref>http://www.emmys.tv/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>&nbsp;and a 68/100 rating on metacritic.com and the second season earning six Emmy nominations with an 80/100 rating on metacritic.com.<ref>"Flight of the Conchords." http://www.metacritic.com/tv/flight-of-the-conchords/season-2 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref> While the show did not acquire phenomenal Nielsen ratings<ref>Levin, Gary. "Nielsens: 'Closer' rebounds; few warmed to 'Earth'." July 10, 2007.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2007-07-10-nielsens-analysis_N.htm (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref><ref>Levin, Gary. "Nielsens: For openers, try 'Closer'." June 26, 2007.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2007-06-26-nielsens-analysis_N.htm (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>, it sold on DVD wonderfully. In fact, the second season topped TV show DVD sales for a week in August 2009.<ref>Seidman, Robert. "Flight of the Conchords second season leads TV Show DVDs, True Blood still strong." August 18, 2009.http://tvbythenumbers.com/2009/08/18/flight-of-the-conchords-second-season-leads-tv-show-dvds-true-blood-still-strong/24941 (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>.  
  
Primarily targeting a 16-28 year-old audience, the show uniquely operates on various elements of off-beat comedy. Firstly, each show typically features two musical performances—many of which end up on the band’s actual albums. In the show, as well as their other comedic performances, Bret and Jemaine play parodied, childlike version of themselves. However, their immature characteristics arise from the musicians’ cultural foreignness as ex-shepherds from a bucolic country. Unaware of their cultural differences, the duo is unaware of typical American behavior. Their awkward situations closely mirror the dry style humor found in both the U.K. (Rick Gervais) and U.S. (Greg Daniels) versions of ''The Office''. Unlike the''The Office'', many critics describe ''FOTC''’s style as “awkwardly hip”<ref>Tringali, Stephen. "TV Review: Flight of the Conchords." June 14, 2007.http://www.ivorytowerz.com/2007/06/tv-review-flight-of-conchords.html (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>. Bret and Jemaine embody the archetypical “hipsters,” who wear flannel, ironic tee shirts, skinny jeans, thick glasses, and have beards. However, the duo is comically unaware that their appearance and lifestyle—as poor musicians in Brooklyn—follow the “hipster” trend. In fact, their unawareness of their style further establishes the trendiness of the “hipster” style, coolness without conscious effort. Mike Vilensky attributes part of ''FOTC''’s popularity with its existence as a “cultural mockery by and for the cultural types that it mocks.” In fact, Vilensky asserts, “The show’s lack of self-seriousness separates it from other media attempting to portray today’s creative twenty[-]somethings”<ref>Vilensky, Mike. "Flight of The Conchords Achieves Success by Mocking Most of Us." February 2, 2009.http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2009/02/02/flight-of-the-conchords-achieves-success-by-mocking-most-of-us/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>.
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Primarily targeting a 16-28 year-old audience, the show uniquely operates on various elements of off-beat comedy. Firstly, each show typically features two musical performances—many of which end up on the band’s actual albums. In the show, as well as their other comedic performances, Bret and Jemaine play parodied, childlike version of themselves. However, their immature characteristics arise from the musicians’ cultural foreignness as ex-shepherds from a bucolic country. Unaware of their cultural differences, the duo is unaware of typical American behavior. Their awkward situations closely mirror the dry style humor found in both the U.K. (Rick Gervais) and U.S. (Greg Daniels) versions of ''The Office''. Unlike the ''The Office'', many critics describe ''FOTC''’s style as “awkwardly hip.”<ref>Tringali, Stephen. "TV Review: Flight of the Conchords." June 14, 2007.http://www.ivorytowerz.com/2007/06/tv-review-flight-of-conchords.html (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref> Bret and Jemaine embody the archetypical “hipsters,” who wear flannel, ironic tee shirts, skinny jeans, thick glasses, and have beards. However, the duo is comically unaware that their appearance and lifestyle—as poor musicians in Brooklyn—follow the “hipster” trend. In fact, their unawareness of their style further establishes the trendiness of the “hipster” style, coolness without conscious effort. Mike Vilensky attributes part of ''FOTC''’s popularity with its existence as a “cultural mockery by and for the cultural types that it mocks.” In fact, Vilensky asserts, “The show’s lack of self-seriousness separates it from other media attempting to portray today’s creative twenty[-]somethings.”<ref>Vilensky, Mike. "Flight of The Conchords Achieves Success by Mocking Most of Us." February 2, 2009.http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2009/02/02/flight-of-the-conchords-achieves-success-by-mocking-most-of-us/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>  
  
 
The show gives a satirical look at many elements of American culture. The duo and their equally naïve manager/deputy cultural attaché at the New Zealand consulate Murray Hewitt (New Zealand comic Rhys Darby) parody American conceptions of bucolic foreigners. For example, the characters mention their own culture’s primitiveness, such as sheepherding and a lack of technology (cable television). They also parody New Zealand popular culture, such as in the episode “The Actor” which includes a music video about ''The Lord of the Rings'', which was famously produced by New Zealand director Peter Jackson in his native country (in fact, McKenzie and his father appeared in ''The Fellowship of the Ring'', and the former’s brief on-screen appearance prompted an internet fan club prior to his comedic success). A recurring theme is the rivalry between the characters from New Zealand and appearances by Australian characters. It is not clear whether this is a real cultural rivalry, however its presentation is humorous to American audiences due to our concepts of the two country’s apparent similarities. The show also deftly parodies the music business. The band’s average gigs are at libraries or aquariums, with important performances occurring at dive bars. In the finale of season one Murray finds success managing a band called Crazy Dogggz that scores large with the moronic hit “Doggy Bounce,” a clear parody of how awful musicians and their songs become commercial hits.  
 
The show gives a satirical look at many elements of American culture. The duo and their equally naïve manager/deputy cultural attaché at the New Zealand consulate Murray Hewitt (New Zealand comic Rhys Darby) parody American conceptions of bucolic foreigners. For example, the characters mention their own culture’s primitiveness, such as sheepherding and a lack of technology (cable television). They also parody New Zealand popular culture, such as in the episode “The Actor” which includes a music video about ''The Lord of the Rings'', which was famously produced by New Zealand director Peter Jackson in his native country (in fact, McKenzie and his father appeared in ''The Fellowship of the Ring'', and the former’s brief on-screen appearance prompted an internet fan club prior to his comedic success). A recurring theme is the rivalry between the characters from New Zealand and appearances by Australian characters. It is not clear whether this is a real cultural rivalry, however its presentation is humorous to American audiences due to our concepts of the two country’s apparent similarities. The show also deftly parodies the music business. The band’s average gigs are at libraries or aquariums, with important performances occurring at dive bars. In the finale of season one Murray finds success managing a band called Crazy Dogggz that scores large with the moronic hit “Doggy Bounce,” a clear parody of how awful musicians and their songs become commercial hits.  
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''FOTC ''perfectly fits into the tradition of HBO original comedies. The network always seeks to give performing spots to young comedians. ''FOTC'' features a slew of roles from young comedians. Besides the three main characters, young comedians Eugene Mirman, Arj Barker, Kristen Schaal have recurring roles on the program, while Kristen Wiig, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, and Demetri Martin, among others, have guest starred on the program. The show’s comedy and mix of music and narrative are fairly unconventional. Because of its target audience and style, it is unlikely that the show would have been broadcast by any other network besides HBO or Comedy Central. The style and production of the show fit into HBO’s trend of unconventional comedies promoting young comedians.  
 
''FOTC ''perfectly fits into the tradition of HBO original comedies. The network always seeks to give performing spots to young comedians. ''FOTC'' features a slew of roles from young comedians. Besides the three main characters, young comedians Eugene Mirman, Arj Barker, Kristen Schaal have recurring roles on the program, while Kristen Wiig, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, and Demetri Martin, among others, have guest starred on the program. The show’s comedy and mix of music and narrative are fairly unconventional. Because of its target audience and style, it is unlikely that the show would have been broadcast by any other network besides HBO or Comedy Central. The style and production of the show fit into HBO’s trend of unconventional comedies promoting young comedians.  
  
The first ''FOTC ''season ran Sunday nights during HBO’s summer line-up, with ''Entourage ''acting as a lead-in program<ref>MacIntyre, April. "HBO does not cancel 'Conchords' or 'Entourage'." August 18, 2007.http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/news/article_1344567.php/HBO_does_not_cancel_Conchords_or_Entourage (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>. ''Entourage'', a well-established program by 2007, appeals to a similar audience as that of ''FOTC''. However, the comedic styles are quite, and it could be argued that while the latter appeals namely to a “hipster” audience, the former appeals much more to the “bro” type. The second season ran alongside the newly premiering comedy ''Eastbound and Down'', the season finale of which got higher ratings than the finale of ''FOTC<ref>Tucker, Ken. "'Flight of the Conchords' and 'Eastbound &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Down': Which ended funnier?." March 25, 2009.http://watching-tv.ew.com/2009/03/25/flight-of-the-c/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>''. Though the show has ended, the band’s popularity continues. Jemaine Clement has recently appeared in ''Dinner for Schmucks'' and ''Despicable Me'', while the duo appeared together in a recent episode of ''The Simpsons''.  
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The first ''FOTC ''season ran Sunday nights during HBO’s summer line-up, with ''Entourage ''acting as a lead-in program.<ref>MacIntyre, April. "HBO does not cancel 'Conchords' or 'Entourage'." August 18, 2007.http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/news/article_1344567.php/HBO_does_not_cancel_Conchords_or_Entourage (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref> ''Entourage'', a well-established program by 2007, appeals to a similar audience as that of ''FOTC''. However, the comedic styles are quite, and it could be argued that while the latter appeals namely to a “hipster” audience, the former appeals much more to the “bro” type. The second season ran alongside the newly premiering comedy ''Eastbound and Down'', the season finale of which got higher ratings than the finale of ''FOTC.<ref>Tucker, Ken. "'Flight of the Conchords' and 'Eastbound &amp;amp; Down': Which ended funnier?." March 25, 2009.http://watching-tv.ew.com/2009/03/25/flight-of-the-c/ (accessed November 5, 2010).</ref>'' Though the show has ended, the band’s popularity continues. Jemaine Clement has recently appeared in ''Dinner for Schmucks'' and ''Despicable Me'', while the duo appeared together in a recent episode of ''The Simpsons''.  
  
 
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== Web Integration<br>  ==
 
== Web Integration<br>  ==
  
In early 2008, HBO launched "HBO Broadband," a feature allowing&nbsp;subscribers access to HBO programming via their computer. Initially, this service had many restrictions.&nbsp; For example, subscribers needed both digital cable and internet supplied from the cable service to use the feature successfully.&nbsp; Additionally, HBO Broadband was only available in Milwaukee and Green Bay during its inception. Likewise, the service was unavailable to satellite subscribers or Mac users. During its launch, HBO co-president Eric Kessler stated that the service was mainly targeted to business travelers who generally watched television via their computers.&nbsp; The service would offer several episodes of many HBO original series as well as a rotating schedule of movies. The cable companies offering HBO Broadband hoped the service would encourage subscribers to bundle their Internet and television services.<ref>Levin, Gary. "It's not TV, it's HBO — on your computer." January 21, 2008.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-01-20-HBO-broadband_N.htm (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>  
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=== HBO.com<br> ===
  
The service came of no extra charge to HBO subscribers. This incentive sought to recruit new subscribers and to keep current subscribers. Kessler noted “[HBO is] different from the broadcast networks because we are not in the advertising business. We are in the subscription business, so if we can create services that increase the usage of our products, we can extend the life of a subscriber, which is great for us and for the cable operator.In a ''New York Post'' article, Peter Lauria explained why HBO only offered HBO&nbsp; Broadband exclusively to cable subscribers: “By tying its broadband service so closely to the cable operators, HBO is trying to accomplish two things: drive subscribers to its main cable network and help lure consumers to cable operators' digital services.”<ref>Lauria, Peter. "HBO ON BROADBAND IN RESTRICTED ROLLOUT." January 21, 2008.http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/item_MDwtYwEA8vkMkjIlZoqSKN;jsessionid=1524CDB202FEDF1B3F1B745CD21D2856 (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>  
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Sparse, HBO's website concentrates mainly on its schedule, thus furthering HBO's branding strategy of letting the exemplary programming speak for itself.&nbsp; Interactive, the online schedule enables its users to search for a program and see when it will air throughout the week. Each program aired has it's own website as well. Almost all have screen shots, episode guides, and blogs written from the perspective of the characters about the events of the latest episode. HBO does a stellar job of providing fun, interactive extras that allow fans who find themselves on the website to interact more completely with their favorite shows. On the ''Big Love'' website, for example, fans can download Christmas songs sung by the cast, as well as watch a teaser of the upcoming season. In comparison, the ''Eastbound and Down'' website allows for users to create mash-ups of their favorite Kenny Power's moments and then enter them in a contest. All of the individual programs have fun extras like these. More bare than the television series' websites, HBO's movie websites only offer general summaries and lists of the cast.<br>
  
In 2010, HBO revamped its online service as “HBO Go,” which extended coverage beyond cable to Verizon FiOS and AT&amp;T U-verse. The service offers a variety of HBO’s original programming, mainly episodes of current series in new seasons, with some seasons of older shows. Also, HBO Go contains over 200 movies that rotate with the network’s regular schedule. Most of the programming is offered in High Definition. The layout of HBO Go borrows from Apple TV’s sleek and easy-to-use design, featuring thumbnail scrolling of programs and episode pages complete with runtimes and descriptions. The service additionally offers a Watchlist feature, which allows users to save episodes and movies to a customized list for future viewing. Also included is the Series Pass, which automatically adds new episodes of a series to the user’s Watchlist.<ref>Drawbaugh, Ben. "Eyes-on with HBO GO." February 17, 2010.http://hd.engadget.com/2010/02/17/eyes-on-with-hbo-go/ (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>  
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=== HBO Broadband<br> ===
  
Critics have generally praised the layout, visual quality, and variety of programming. The service does have several setbacks, however. Satellite subscribers of the network still cannot access HBO's online service.&nbsp; Likewise, the service is incompatible with third-party and mobile devices, such as the iPhone or the Xbox 360. A subscription-based network, HBO has hesistated in adding its current and previous programs to popular services, such as Hulu and Netflix. HBO Go is the network’s alternative to these services, and it is one that subscribers hope will expand beyond its current availability.<ref>Blake. "HBO Go – New Video Streaming Service from HBO." February 17, 2010.http://www.reviewstl.com/hbo-go-new-video-streaming-service-from-hbo-021710/ (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref><br>  
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In early 2008, HBO launched "HBO Broadband," a feature allowing&nbsp;subscribers online access to HBO programming. Initially, this service had many restrictions.&nbsp; For example, subscribers needed both digital cable and internet supplied from the same, specific cable service to use the feature successfully.&nbsp; Additionally, HBO Broadband was only available in Milwaukee and Green Bay during its inception. Likewise, the service was unavailable to satellite subscribers or Mac users. During its launch, Kessler stated that the service was mainly targeted to business travelers who generally watch online television.&nbsp; The service would offer several episodes of many HBO original series as well as a rotating schedule of movies. The cable companies offering HBO Broadband hoped the service would encourage subscribers to bundle their Internet and television services.<ref>Levin, Gary. "It's not TV, it's HBO — on your computer." January 21, 2008.http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2008-01-20-HBO-broadband_N.htm (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>  
  
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The service came of no extra charge to HBO subscribers. This incentive sought to recruit new subscribers and to maintain current subscribers. Kessler noted “[HBO is] different from the broadcast networks because we are not in the advertising business. We are in the subscription business, so if we can create services that increase the usage of our products, we can extend the life of a subscriber, which is great for us and for the cable operator.” In a ''New York Post'' article, Peter Lauria explained why HBO only offered HBO&nbsp; Broadband exclusively to cable subscribers: “By tying its broadband service so closely to the cable operators, HBO is trying to accomplish two things: drive subscribers to its main cable network and help lure consumers to cable operators' digital services.”<ref>Lauria, Peter. "HBO ON BROADBAND IN RESTRICTED ROLLOUT." January 21, 2008.http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/item_MDwtYwEA8vkMkjIlZoqSKN;jsessionid=1524CDB202FEDF1B3F1B745CD21D2856 (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>
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In 2010, HBO revamped its online service as “HBO Go,” which extended coverage beyond cable to Verizon FiOS and AT&amp;T U-verse. The service offers a variety of HBO’s original programming, mainly episodes of current series in new seasons, with some seasons of older shows. Also, HBO Go contains over 200 movies that rotate with the network’s regular schedule. Most of the programming is offered in High Definition. Also included on HBO Go&nbsp;is the Series Pass, which automatically adds new episodes of a series to the user’s Watchlist.<ref>Drawbaugh, Ben. "Eyes-on with HBO GO." February 17, 2010.http://hd.engadget.com/2010/02/17/eyes-on-with-hbo-go/ (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref>
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Critics have generally praised the layout, visual quality, and variety of programming. The service does have several setbacks, however. Satellite subscribers of the network still cannot access HBO's online service.&nbsp; Likewise, the service is incompatible with third-party and mobile devices, such as the iPhone or the Xbox 360. A subscription-based network, HBO has hesitated in adding its current and previous programs to popular services, such as Hulu and Netflix. HBO Go is the network’s alternative to these services, and it is one that subscribers hope will expand beyond its current availability.<ref>Blake. "HBO Go – New Video Streaming Service from HBO." February 17, 2010.http://www.reviewstl.com/hbo-go-new-video-streaming-service-from-hbo-021710/ (accessed November 18, 2010).</ref><br>
  
 
=== HBO and Netflix Controversy<br>  ===
 
=== HBO and Netflix Controversy<br>  ===
  
In August of 2010, in an effort to expand its programming options, Netflix approached HBO about allowing its programming the option of allowing online streaming to all Netflix subscribers. HBO turned down Netflix down. Kessler explained, “there is value in exclusivity. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content”.&nbsp;<ref>Grover, Ronald. "Netflix Lust for `True Blood' Is Unrequited as HBO Blocks Path - Bloomberg." Bloomberg - Business &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp; Financial News, Breaking News Headlines. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-17/netflix-lust-for-true-blood-sopranos-is-unrequited-as-hbo-blocks-path.html&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref> While Netflix moved on from HBO and signed a 900 million dollar 5 year deal with Epix and thus received the rights to moves and programming owned by Paramount, Lions Gate, and MGM, HBO also exclusively owns streaming rights to Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal programming, meaning that the Netflix library will retain some holes. <ref>Hill, Kimberly. "HBO Spurns Netflix Deal." Welcome to E-Commerce Times. 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/70648.html?wlc=1290173446&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref>HBO’s refusal to work with Netflix, signals its support of HBO Go, which will work in competition with Netflix.<br>
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In August 2010, in an effort to expand its programming options, Netflix approached HBO concerning the option of allowing its subscribers access to stream HBO programming using Netflix Instant. HBO turned Netflix down. Kessler explained that HBO reached the decision they did because “there is value in exclusivity. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content”.&nbsp;<ref>Grover, Ronald. "Netflix Lust for `True Blood' Is Unrequited as HBO Blocks Path - Bloomberg." Bloomberg - Business Financial News, Breaking News Headlines. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-17/netflix-lust-for-true-blood-sopranos-is-unrequited-as-hbo-blocks-path.html</ref> Netflix then signed a 900 million dollar, 5 year deal with Epix that allows them the rights to movies and programming owned by Paramount, Lions Gate, and MGM thereby limiting HBO's ability to air these films. This development could potentially affect HBO subscriptions, however, HBO exclusively owns streaming rights to Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal programming, meaning that the Netflix library will too retain some holes.<ref>Hill, Kimberly. "HBO Spurns Netflix Deal." Welcome to E-Commerce Times. 18 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/70648.html?wlc=1290173446</ref> HBO’s refusal to work with Netflix, signals its support of HBO Go, which will work in competition with Netflix.<br>
 
 
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=== HBO and Google TV<br>  ===
 
=== HBO and Google TV<br>  ===
  
In May of 2010, Google announced the development of a smart TV platform that would bring the wonders of the Internet into the home through the television. <ref>Washbrook, Cyril. "Google TV Throws down the Gauntlet | The Spy Report." Media Spy | Know What's Happening. 21 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2010/05/21/google-tv-throws-down-the-gauntlet/&amp;amp;amp;gt;</ref>Google TV, Google’s version of Apple TV, would allow users to search both the internet and their television for content using a searchbar, allow for an HDMI input in order to keep traditional programming, allow for web browsing through Google Chrome, support applications such as Youtube, Netflix, Twitter, and Flickr, and use of an Android phone as a remote. Google Press Center. <ref>"Industry Leaders Announce Open Platform to Bring Web to TV." Google. 20 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20100520_googletv.html&amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref><br>
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In May of 2010, Google announced the development of a smart TV platform that would bring the wonders of the Internet into the living room.<ref>Washbrook, Cyril. "Google TV Throws down the Gauntlet | The Spy Report." Media Spy | Know What's Happening. 21 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.mediaspy.org/report/2010/05/21/google-tv-throws-down-the-gauntlet/</ref> Google TV, Google’s version of Apple TV, will allow users to use an HDMI input if necessary in order to keep traditional programming, browse the web through Google Chrome, use applications such as Youtube, Netflix, Twitter, and Flickr, and use an Android phone as a remote.<ref>"Industry Leaders Announce Open Platform to Bring Web to TV." Google. 20 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/20100520_googletv.html</ref><br>  
 
 
All new Sony Hi-Defenition Television Sets and Blu-ray players will be equipped with Google TV capabilities, but set-top boxes will also be available. Cunningham, Tyler. <ref>"What We Know so Far about Google TV. | GTVHub.com." GTVHub - Your Source for Google TV News, Reviews, Information, and Much More. 24 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.gtvhub.com/2010/05/24/what-we-know-so-far-about-google-tv/</ref><br>  
 
  
On October 4, 2010 HBO announced that it had joined with Google TV to offer HBO on Google’s new platform. As Kessler explained, “The great thing about HBO Go is that it gives you choice and convenience to not only watch when you want, but wherever you want: on your PC or Mac, your iPhone or iPad, you can watch from anywhere. Clearly the way people are watching programming is changing. This is how young people watch. They don’t care where the content is; they just care about accessing it when they want and wherever they are.” <ref>Young, Susan. "HBO Go Pacts with Google TV - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026453&amp;amp;amp;gt;</ref>Google TV’s search function will help viewers to access HBO Go programming even faster than previously. The 600 hours of HBO programming that HBO GO and Google TV viewers will have access too can be narrowed down to the exact episode with only a quick Google search.
+
All new Sony Hi-Definition Television Sets and Blu-ray players will be equipped with Google TV capabilities, but set-top boxes will also be available.<ref>"What We Know so Far about Google TV. | GTVHub.com." GTVHub - Your Source for Google TV News, Reviews, Information, and Much More. 24 May 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.gtvhub.com/2010/05/24/what-we-know-so-far-about-google-tv/</ref><br>
  
With Google TV and HBO Go, subscribers will be able to set up a watch list, access background material on the shows and share their viewing experience with others online. <ref>Young, Susan. "HBO Go Pacts with Google TV - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026453&amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref><br>
+
On October 4, 2010 HBO announced that it had joined with Google TV to offer HBO on Google’s new platform. As Kessler explained, “The great thing about HBO Go is that it gives you choice and convenience to not only watch when you want, but wherever you want: on your PC or Mac, your iPhone or iPad, you can watch from anywhere. Clearly the way people are watching programming is changing. This is how young people watch. They don’t care where the content is; they just care about accessing it when they want and wherever they are.<ref>Young, Susan. "HBO Go Pacts with Google TV - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026453</ref> Google TV’s search function will help viewers to access HBO Go programming even faster than previously. The 600 hours of HBO programming that HBO GO and Google TV viewers will have access to can be narrowed down to an exact episode with only a quick Google search.
  
[Advertising for Google TV shows rotating billboards of TBS, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Cartoon Network and NBA games shown on Turner Sports. In its advertising, Time Warner’s programming is getting the kind of exposure that Disney got in the Apple TV launch, furthering the speculation that Time Warner is using Google TV to directly challenge the Disney Corporation, and also helps to explain why HBO turned down a partnership with Netflix. <ref>Kramer, Stacey D. "Google TV Readies For Launch; Deals With HBO, Turner, NBA, CNBC, Etc. | PaidContent." The Economics of Digital Content | PaidContent. 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;lt;http://paidcontent.org/article/419-google-tv-readies-for-launch-deals-with-hbo-turner-nba-cnbc-etc/&amp;amp;amp;gt;</ref>] '''DISCONNECTED?'''<br><br>  
+
With Google TV and HBO Go, subscribers will be able to set up a watch list, access background material from the shows and share their viewing experience with others online. <ref>Young, Susan. "HBO Go Pacts with Google TV - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety." Entertainment News, Film Reviews, Awards, Film Festivals, Box Office, Entertainment Industry Conferences - Variety. 8 Nov. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118026453</ref><br>  
  
<br>
+
Current advertising for Google TV shows rotating billboards of TBS, HBO’s ''Boardwalk Empire'', Cartoon Network and NBA games, thus giving Time Warner's programming the kind of exposure that Disney got in the Apple TV launch, furthering the speculation that Time Warner is using Google TV to directly challenge the Disney Corporation. This also helps to explain why HBO turned down a partnership with Netflix. <ref>Kramer, Stacey D. "Google TV Readies For Launch; Deals With HBO, Turner, NBA, CNBC, Etc. | PaidContent." The Economics of Digital Content | PaidContent. 14 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. http://paidcontent.org/article/419-google-tv-readies-for-launch-deals-with-hbo-turner-nba-cnbc-etc/</ref><br>
  
== Fan Forums<br>  ==
+
=== Fan Forums<br>  ===
  
=== Official HBO Forum<ref>"HBO: True Blood Forum/"The Know It All Club"" HBO. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;http://www.hbo.com/#/true-blood/talk/forums/item.html/eNrjcmbOYC7ULMtMSc13zEvMqSzJTHbOzytJrShRz89JgQkFJKan iXmpjLnsyWWZqbYmpgZpBmnpVqoGrkkpRmZAylDA6MUEM-QEkQZGBgmmpmYpKYYJCeyMbIxcjIyAgA83h7Y&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;.</ref> <br>  ===
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==== Official HBO Forum<ref>"HBO: True Blood Forum/"The Know It All Club"" HBO. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. http://www.hbo.com/#/true-blood/talk/forums/item.html/eNrjcmbOYC7ULMtMSc13zEvMqSzJTHbOzytJrShRz89JgQkFJKaniXmpjLnsyWWZqbYmpgZpBmnpVqoGrkkpRmZAylDA6MUEM-QEkQZGBgmmpmYpKYYJCeyMbIxcjIyAgA83h7Y</ref> <br>  ====
  
Like many other networks, HBO allows its enthusiastic viewers to create and continue a discourse concerning its programs by supporting an online community. Before fans can join discussions, they must create profiles, which not only store personal preferences, but also allow access to HBO’s forum section. Members receive exclusive admission to HBO’s additional content, offers, and promotions.&nbsp; Memebers also can custom their own settings using HBO’s schedule and personal favorites option. Further promoting participation and buzz, HBO supports an online forum. Visible to other HBO community members, each profile includes the member’s name, picture, and “voice.” Essentially, members create virtual identities. Signifying a member’s vocal strength within the HBO community, three different levels exist: Beginning members start as a “Fresh Voice.” When members become more actively engaged in the forums, they will graduate to an “Active Voice.” The veteran members who become the forum’s key, knowledgeable members upgrade to an “Established Voice.” HBO’s system not only tracks one’s own progress in HBO knowledge, but also displays it to other members. <br>  
+
Like many other networks, HBO allows its enthusiastic viewers to create and continue a discourse of its programs by supporting an online community. Encouraging online participants, website members receive exclusive admission to HBO’s additional content, offers, and promotions pertaining to specific program forums.&nbsp; Additionally, members can also custom their own preferences using HBO’s schedule and personal favorites option.&nbsp; Visible to other HBO community members, each member profile includes the member’s name, picture, and “voice.” Essentially, members create virtual identities. Signifying a member’s vocal strength within the HBO community, three different levels exist: Beginning members start as a “Fresh Voice.” When members become more actively engaged in the forums, they will graduate to an “Active Voice.” The veteran members who become the forum’s key, knowledgeable members upgrade to an “Established Voice.”&nbsp; Essentially, HBO’s system not only tracks one’s own progress in HBO knowledge, but also displays it to the online community. <br>
  
=== HBO’s True Blood Fan Forum <br>  ===
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==== HBO’s True Blood Fan Forum <br>  ====
  
Within the''True Blood'' forum, many topics created by members center on exclusive knowledge concerning the show. For example, the most popular thread “The Know it All Club” encourages members to divulge information that proves their inside knowledge of upcoming episodes. Additionally, members who write in this thread demonstrate their prowess in and dedication to all things ''True Blood''—almost to establish who appears the most obsessive and involved. However, the hierarchy of “voices” further endorses this friendly competition. By sharing this information, regardless of level, all members ultimately gain the information.  
+
Within the ''True Blood'' forum, many topics created by members center on exclusive knowledge concerning the show. For example, the most popular thread “The Know it All Club” encourages members to divulge information that proves their inside knowledge of upcoming episodes. Additionally, members who write in this thread demonstrate their prowess in and dedication to all things ''True Blood''—almost to establish who appears the most obsessive and involved. However, the hierarchy of “voices” further endorses this friendly competition. By sharing this information, regardless of level, all members ultimately gain the information.  
  
 
Other popular topics include specific episode discussions. First, the forum moderators routinely post a synopsis for those who missed the episode but want to take part in understanding the discussion. Thereafter, they let members run loose. No restrictions exist on where the ongoing conversation will go—whether members strictly relate their observations and opinions to the specific episode or find evidence to predict future happenings. <br><br>
 
Other popular topics include specific episode discussions. First, the forum moderators routinely post a synopsis for those who missed the episode but want to take part in understanding the discussion. Thereafter, they let members run loose. No restrictions exist on where the ongoing conversation will go—whether members strictly relate their observations and opinions to the specific episode or find evidence to predict future happenings. <br><br>

Latest revision as of 11:14, 3 December 2010

HBO (The Home Box Office)

History[1]

In 1971, Sterling Communications owner Charles Dolan parlayed money from Time Inc. to create the “Green Channel.” However, as a pay-television channel featuring home-entertainment programming such as premiere movies and sporting events, Dolin fittingly renamed the channel “Home Box Office Inc.” (HBO). On November 8, 1972, HBO debuted with Sometimes a Great Nation and a National Hockey League game. The idea of HBO did not catch on.  With HBO’s sluggish start and failure to retain subscribers, Gerald Levin replaced Dolan as president. Additionally, HBO purchased access to Satcom 1, an RCA-owned communication satellite, in 1975.

On October 1, 1975, HBO initially flourished by internationally broadcasting “Thrilla in Manila”, a heavyweight boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Proving itself a success during America's great cable era, HBO started profiting in 1977 with over 600,000 subscriptions. Viewing HBO’s accomplishment of using communication satellites, many niche channels followed suit. By 1983, HBO transmitted its first made-for-pay-TV movie, The Terry Fox Story; the network released its first miniseries, All the Rivers Run.  Even in its beginning, HBO innovatively incorporated various media to make more than just television; they made art.

Due to the network’s unique subscription-based financial model, HBO created a tradition of original, critically-acclaimed programming in the 1990s. Dependent on viewer subscriptions rather than corporate sponsors, HBO's programming lack commercials.  In contrast to narrative fragmentation of commercials apparent in programs of other networks, HBO programs can feature more fluid, Hollywood-like cinematic viewing for its television audience; HBO can create a higher level of art that casts it as a premium channel. Unlike other sponsor-regulated networks, HBO maintains its original cinematic visions, as it can explicitly show more taboo materials—including sex, drugs, language, and violence. HBO's unique model has enabled the network to produce signature programs such as Oz, The Sopranos, and Sex in the City.


Role in Production, Distribution, and Transmission

Lending to its tremendous popularity, HBO not only produces and broadcasts its own original series for its own network, but also distributes them to other networks. For instance,in 1990 the network launched HBO Independent Productions, which produced multiple episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond for CBS. Consequently, HBO then created HBO Downtown Productions, which produces comedy specials for both HBO and Comedy Central.

Increasing its media scope, HBO also focuses on film. For example, HBO Films produces original feature films as well as its epic, popular miniseries, such as The Pacific, Generation Kill, and Band of Brothers. HBO generally keeps the programs that it produces, despite completed full-length feature films produced in its studios that have gained commercial success. The channel itself only distributes these films to subscribing customers.

With a subscription, HBO viewers gain access to seven different channels, each with a wide variety of programming catering to different demographics.  HBO's narrowcasting ensures that there is something for everyone who may possibly subscribe. The seven channels are:

HBO

As the original channel, HBO shows feature films, sporting events, documentaries, original movies, original series, and comedy specials. It shows a mixture of the programming seen on the other channels, allowing it to attract a wider, more diverse audience than its more specific counterparts. It does limit R-rated and TVMA rated programming until after 8:00 PM ET, however the fact that it does still air PG-13 material during the day allows that its primary audience ranges from the 18-49 year old age group.

HBO 2

HBO 2 features more movies and series than the original channel. It also airs R-rated films during daytime hours. For this reason, like HBO, it generally attracts 18-49 year old males.

HBO Comedy

Showing comedic films, series, and adult comedy specials, HBO Comedy caters its programming to a 18-35 year old demographic as well as minorities.

HBO Family

HBO Family caters to a younger audience by showing programming that the whole family can enjoy. Like many other channels that target families, the early morning hours are filled with shows directed toward a pre-school age audience. Mid-afternoon (generally around 1 PM) brings G, PG, or PG-13 rated movies to the channel, and R and TVMA programs will never be shown.

HBO Signature

Showing mainly original, feature, or original series films, HBO Signature tailors its programming toward women of all ages.

HBO Zone

In broadcasting soft-core pornographic movies at night, HBO Zone caters itself to the 18 to 35 male demographic.

HBO Latino

This is a Spanish language version of the original HBO and broadcasts almost the exact same programs, but dubs them in Spanish. Uniquely, this channel airs boxing events. HBO Latino narrowcasts to a Latino population but again more specifically targets those in the 18-35 range.

HBO does not only rely on its own company, and the subscription model, to generate profits, but also on corporate collaborations. For example, in an effort to promote the season 2 premiere of True Blood, HBO joined forces with mainstream companies, such as Marc Ecko, Harley Davidson, Geico, and Gillete to create products that advertised both the TV show as well as the partner company. Both companies benefited as the collaboration allowed for them to reach consumers that they might otherwise not.[2] Currently, a similar ad partnership is evolving between Boardwalk Empire and Harrah's, Macys, and Canadian Club.[3]

Branding and Advertising Strategies

Whereas many channels allocate a large portion of their funding to advertising in an effort to create a "brand," HBO budgets the bulk of its branding dollars to programming. As vice president of HBO marketing Eric Kessler explains: "At the end of the day, the brand is all about the programming. The campaign `It's Not TV. It's HBO' works because the programming is so incredible," says Kessler. "What people remember about HBO isn't a slogan. It's The Sopranos. It's Sex and the City. It's Six Feet Under."[4]In fact, they rely on the idea that the programming should speak for itself so much, that an ad shot by Annie Leibovitz in 2002 promoting the new season, didn't even include the show's title, and instead relied on the fact that The Sopranos was one of the most watched shows at the time.[5]

While "It's Not TV. It's HBO" is no longer HBO's current slogan, many HBO advertisements still center on the idea of HBO being able to offer more than what other channels offer. Aside from promising exceptional programming, audiences can expect HBO shows to have strong casts, usually made up of famous actors, as well as distinguished production teams. Additionally, HBO greatly differs from network television with its cancellation policy. Network TV heavily relies on ratings, and thus is forced to cancel show with low ratings; often this spells disaster for new shows with potential, but take too long to find their fan base. Because HBO operates on a subscription basis, it can keep shows, regardless of ratings. Therefore, HBO has the liberty to pick up and keep as many new shows it desires. By showing their commitment to keeping their programming consistent, they set themselves apart from other channels.[6]

As mentioned above, HBO viewers must subscribe to HBO, as HBO is not a part of basic cable packages. While relying on programming is a good technique for keeping current subscribers and occasionally attracting new ones, this method does not attract the number of new subscribers that HBO wants or needs. Therefore, they turn to other classic techniques, such as telemarketing and shipping out millions of promotional materials annually. According to Eric Kessler, this strategy proves successful, as between 1997 and 2002, HBO gained one million subscribers.[7]

Some less traditional marketing techniques rely on creating buzz around the channel and its television shows in order to generate fresh interest. For example, HBO held the Band of Brothers series premiere on the beaches of Normandy, and turned The Sopranos premiere into a special event at Radio City Music Hall in order to magnify the hype surrounding these shows' debuts. By turning these premieres into special events, HBO, again, highlights its "It's Not TV. It's HBO" slogan.[8]

One of the more well-known HBO brand campaigns, the HBO Voyeur Project, was publically revealed in June of 2007. The HBO Voyeur Project filmed a series of interconnected stories taking place across many urban apartments and featured them on HBOVoyeur.com, HBO Mobile, and HBO on Demand. The tag-line for the project was, "sometimes the best stories are the ones we were not meant to see," which played on HBO's characteristically grand storytelling.[9]

Ownership and Conglomeration

In 1973, Time Inc. purchased “HBO” from Sterling Communications. With the merging of Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc., HBO joined Time Warner in May 1989.[10]  Currently, Time Warner owns HBO.[11]

Within HBO Inc., HBO possesses the following auxiliary brands:

  • HBO
  • HBO On Demand
  • Cinemax
  • Cinemax On Demand
  • HBO Home Entertainment
  • HBO Domestic and International Program Distribution
  • HBO On Demand International: Israel, United Kingdom, Japan, Cyprus, Greece
  • HBO Mobile International: United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada
  • International Ventures: HBO Asia, HBO Central Europe, HBO Latin America
  • E! Latin America Channel

One of the largest media conglomerates, Time Warner notably owns the following companies and their respective brands: Turner Broadcasting, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Time Inc.[12]

Signature Programming and Genre Trends[13]

Evidence of its original, critically-acclaimed programming, HBO has annually received the greatest number of Emmy nominations of any network since 2001.[14]  Capturing numerous genres, HBO's programming fits into eight categories: drama series, comedy series, miniseries, original films, documentaries, sports, talk shows, and performances.

Drama Series

HBO's dramas concentrate on various genres, such as family life (Big Love, Six Feet Under), history (Deadwood, Rome), and crime (The SopranosOz, Boardwalk Empire, The Wire). Currently HBO features five dramas: Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Big Love, Treme, and In Treatment.

Comedy Series

HBO has produced breakthrough hits for young comedians (Flight of the Conchords, Da Ali G Show) as well as successful series with established comedians (The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm). HBO comedy series often deal with show business (Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras), the literary world (Sex and the City, Bored to Death), sports (Arliss, Eastbound and Down) and sketch comedy (Mr. Show with Bob and David, Tracey Takes On...). Currently HBO features six comedy programs: Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bored to Death, Eastbound and Down, Hung, and How to Make It in America.

Miniseries

HBO's miniseries frequently deal with social issues, such as poverty (The Corner), AIDS (Angels in America), war (Generation Kill, The Pacific, Band of Brothers), and history (From the Earth to the Moon, John Adams).

Original Films

Confirmation of its strong programming, HBO has won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie nine out of ten years.[15] Some notable films include Something the Lord Made, Truman, Miss Evers' Boys, The Girl in the Cafe, and Recount.

Documentaries

HBO's documentaries and documentary series focus on a gamut of issues including current events (When the Levees Broke, Baghdad High), sexuality (G String Divas, Real Sex), and music (The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town), among other topics.

Sports

HBO’s sports coverage has previously consisted of reality series (Hard Knocks), journalism (Costas Now, Inside the NFL, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel), and boxing matches.

Talk Shows

Occasionally, HBO has featured several comedic talk shows including The Chris Rock Show, Dennis Miller Live, and the still-running Real Time with Bill Maher.

Performances

As well as featuring regular performance programs such as Def Poetry and Def Comedy Jam, HBO often showcases musical and comedy specials such as The 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert and You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.

Scheduling[16]

HBO primarily divides its schedule between original programming and movies. HBO's premier, original line-up airs on Sunday from 9 PM ET to 11 PM ET. Normally this line-up consists of two half-hour comedies followed by one hour-long drama (or vice versa; termed "hammocking"). Other original programming, such as talk/variety shows, appear on various nights during prime time. Special programs, such as miniseries, comedy specials, boxing events, or HBO original films, appear during prime time on heavily advertised dates (usually a weekend). Re-runs of original programming play frequently at different times. Often HBO schedules a marathon of various series to allow viewers to keep up. Because of the mature elements often present in HBO's original programming, rarely will HBO sell a series into syndication.  When this does occur (e.g. Sex and the City playing on TBS), HBO will heavily edit the syndicated program to satisfy the regulations of the channel it will play on.

HBO On Demand

With its unoccupied airtime, HBO broadcasts movies. Feature films making their first appearance on television premier on Saturday evenings. HBO commonly plays films several times a day or week to give viewers multiple opportunities to view a particular film (however, DVR has diminished this feature’s importance).  This service offers over 140 HBO programs to subscribers and is accessible from subscribers' cable/satellite/fiber-optic service. On Demand features a variety of series, movies, documentaries, specials, and sports programming. Content is normally offered for a fixed period of time, and certain seasons/episodes of ended series, such as The Sopranos, are also available at various times. HBO On Demand is a popular off-line alternative to services, such as Hulu and Netflix, and is consistent with HBO's subscriber-only business model.[17]


Textual Analysis

True Blood

Based on Charlaine Harris’ book series Southern Vampire, True Blood is an HBO original series produced by Alan Ball. Following Six Feet Under’s series finale, Ball signed a two-year contract to develop new original programming for HBO; True Blood became his first project.[18] On September 7, 2008, the show debuted on HBO with 1.44 million viewers.[19] Steadily gaining a loyal viewership with each season, the show ultimately garnered 5.38 million viewers during the third season’s finale, which aired on September 12, 2010.[20] Currently, HBO has renewed True Blood for a fourth season.

Fixed in a fantasy world with vampires, True Blood is a dramatic serial set in Bon Temps, Louisiana just two years after the revolutionary development of “TruBlood,” a synthetic blood beverage (for which the show gains its title). Capturing the town’s mixed-relations concerning vampires, the show follows its characters, especially at the local bar, Merlotts’. One consistent main plot throughout all three seasons traces the relationship between Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress, and Bill Compton, a 173-year old vampire whom she meets in “Strange Love” (1.1). Apparent in the show’s existing three seasons, the show allegorically explores ideas of prejudice, drug use, and gay rights via the interplay between humans and supernatural creatures, such as vampires, shape shifters, and werewolves.

Deeply embodying HBO’s slogan “It’s Not TV, It’s HBO,” True Blood conveys fantastical themes through depictions of explicit sex and violence that no other channel would either fund or display. As one critic noted, “Take away the graphic sex, and True Blood could air on USA Network.”[21] Equally, True Blood without illicit sex and seemingly graphic violence would not be True Blood. Ultimately, these conventions draw new subscribers to HBO.  Initial critical reactions to True Blood were mixed. For instance, Time magazine’s generally reviewed the show’s premiere by writing that:

Ball's characters, living and dead, are caricatures. He once said the only meddling HBO ever did on Six Feet Under was to ask him to make it less conventional, and he could have used that kind of intervention this time. For a show about prejudice, True Blood is free with stereotypes: Sookie's sassy black friend, the flaming gay cook and sundry racist Juh-hee-sus-fearing rednecks. [22]

Positive critical acclaim for the series only started to accumulate after "Sparks Fly Out" (1.5). Similarly, True Blood’s first season received a favorable rating of 64 on Metacritic,[23] a 74 for the show’s second season,[24] and a 79 for its third season.[25] In terms of popular viewing, True Blood currently exists as HBO’s most watched series since The Sopranos.[26] The show’s creative success materializes in its annual multiple Emmys and Golden Globes since its premiere. By the end of 2009, the first season DVD had sold over 1.6 million units and grossed over $57 million; it was the only TV show in the 50 Top-Selling DVDs of 2009.[27]

While many note HBO’s capitalization on the current vampire fad, True Blood targets a more mature audience than those of other pop-culture vampire representations, such as the CW’s The Vampire Diaries or Stephanie Myers’s Twilight franchise. Additionally, the show attracts an atypically-wide viewership from a liberally-minded fifteen to forty-nine year old demographic by presenting content mostly devoid of race, gender, or sexual orientation. For example, a blog on Antenna posits that “[True Blood]’s extreme sexual violence and voyeuristic viewership invites male viewers even where the initial topic of a female protagonist and her vampire lover might not.”[28]Rolling Stone also explains that the show refrains from alienating its homosexual viewers not only highlighting, but also sincerely exploring homosexual relationships and sex. Rolling Stone observes that in True Blood, “every available orifice is used for intercourse: gay, straight, between humans and supernatural beings, and supernatural being on supernatural being.”[29] To further fascinate its target audience, the show strategically uses unique scheduling techniques. While the first season aired from September to November, the following two seasons aired during the summer, a time when the bulk of the show’s target audience, particularly its school-aged demographic, can devote more time to follow the series.

Aligned with HBO’s commitment to showcase contemporary political issue, True Blood culturally depicts vampires as a marginalized minority group.  In fact, True Blood’s setting in the Deep South undeniably recalls a past rooted in racism.  However, now an updated form of bigotry against vampires also exists.  Located within a time when vampires already exist, True Blood primarily focuses on the assimilation of vampires—the Other—into a human-dominated world. Unlike the visibility of racial discrimination inherent in skin color, the distinctions between vampires and humans appear socially invisible, except in the queer lifestyles of vampires: diurnal sleeping cycles, feeding patterns, and unbridled sexual appetites. Attempting to humanize themselves, some vampires drink “TruBlood” to alleviate “racial” tensions. In fact, some humans recognize their efforts, and consequently support vampires and their goal of integration. Conversely, not all vampires wish to assimilate into “above-ground” society, as they feel it will compromise their vampire identity. For example, some vampires terrorize humans to preserve their pure vampire culture. Unfortunately, some humans view these vampires' goals as threats to human safety.  Accordingly, these humans oppose the assimilation of vampires.  Many opposing humans are a part of The Fellowship of the Sun, a religion based on anti-vampirism. The divide over civil rights that HBO projects undeniably parallels those of contemporary political activity concerning LGBT rights. For instance, much of the vilification of vampires surfaces in similar homophobic comments such as “God Hates Fangs” (analogous to “God Hates Fags”). Additionally, the news coverage sequences on True Blood between "good" vampires/vampire-advocates and "bad" vampires/vampire-haters mirror those of current events involving televised debates over LGBT rights.

Taking advantage of its placement on HBO, True Blood depicts explicit, immoral acts by ascribing these social anxieties as individual to the introduction of vampires on the show.  In one of the series’ opening scenes, the ramifications of having sex with a vampire become evident when a male vampire has (ferocious) sex with a female lover, and then murderers her (colloquially termed a “fang banger”); HBO brashly shows this wild sex scene.  Many fervent radicals disapprove of the inter-“racial” romance between Sookie and Bill because they believe his vampiric wickedness will damage Sookie--or rather that the human culture will become polluted with tainted vampire blood.  Furthermore, the show also portrays modern views on drugs and its trafficking by using "vampire blood" as a novel drug resembling ecstasy. Similar to ecstasy and its colloquial moniker of “X," vampire blood bears the nickname “V.”  In addition to its euphoric effects, “V” induces hyper-sexual arousal, like Viagra. A drug, vampire blood becomes addicting to the point of corruption. “V” is sold “underground.”  However, while vampire-opponents incessantly condemn vampires for their immorality, many vampire enemies hypocritically engage in these same dissolute activities.  Again, much of the behaviors of vampire-haters emulate the conduct of modern politicians. 

Fitting into HBO’s typical scheduling model of “hammocking," new episodes of True Blood air on Sunday nights at 9 PM EST. After its debut on Sunday, a new episode will often air multiple times during the week in order to allow for all viewers with different schedules to keep up with the series.

Flight of the Conchords

“New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo"[30]

An episodic sitcom on HBO, Flight of the Conchords (FOTC) follows show creators/stars Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, two New Zealander musicians living in Brooklyn. The show, which originally aired in 2007, was critically and had a strong following, especially in DVD sales. Despite its success, Clement and McKenzie announced the show’s ending in late 2009.

The show’s title refers to Jemaine and Bret’s real-life comedy folk band, which existed prior to the creation of the HBO program. In fact, the musicians garnered so much success on the live comedy circuit in 2005 that BBC 2 picked them up as a radio show.[31] Thereafter, the duo made their way onto several television spots, including an HBO special and performances on late night programs from Letterman to Conan.[32] The show gained increasing critical acclaim and popularity over the course of its two-season run, with the first season earning four Emmy Nominations[33] and a 68/100 rating on metacritic.com and the second season earning six Emmy nominations with an 80/100 rating on metacritic.com.[34] While the show did not acquire phenomenal Nielsen ratings[35][36], it sold on DVD wonderfully. In fact, the second season topped TV show DVD sales for a week in August 2009.[37].

Primarily targeting a 16-28 year-old audience, the show uniquely operates on various elements of off-beat comedy. Firstly, each show typically features two musical performances—many of which end up on the band’s actual albums. In the show, as well as their other comedic performances, Bret and Jemaine play parodied, childlike version of themselves. However, their immature characteristics arise from the musicians’ cultural foreignness as ex-shepherds from a bucolic country. Unaware of their cultural differences, the duo is unaware of typical American behavior. Their awkward situations closely mirror the dry style humor found in both the U.K. (Rick Gervais) and U.S. (Greg Daniels) versions of The Office. Unlike the The Office, many critics describe FOTC’s style as “awkwardly hip.”[38] Bret and Jemaine embody the archetypical “hipsters,” who wear flannel, ironic tee shirts, skinny jeans, thick glasses, and have beards. However, the duo is comically unaware that their appearance and lifestyle—as poor musicians in Brooklyn—follow the “hipster” trend. In fact, their unawareness of their style further establishes the trendiness of the “hipster” style, coolness without conscious effort. Mike Vilensky attributes part of FOTC’s popularity with its existence as a “cultural mockery by and for the cultural types that it mocks.” In fact, Vilensky asserts, “The show’s lack of self-seriousness separates it from other media attempting to portray today’s creative twenty[-]somethings.”[39]

The show gives a satirical look at many elements of American culture. The duo and their equally naïve manager/deputy cultural attaché at the New Zealand consulate Murray Hewitt (New Zealand comic Rhys Darby) parody American conceptions of bucolic foreigners. For example, the characters mention their own culture’s primitiveness, such as sheepherding and a lack of technology (cable television). They also parody New Zealand popular culture, such as in the episode “The Actor” which includes a music video about The Lord of the Rings, which was famously produced by New Zealand director Peter Jackson in his native country (in fact, McKenzie and his father appeared in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the former’s brief on-screen appearance prompted an internet fan club prior to his comedic success). A recurring theme is the rivalry between the characters from New Zealand and appearances by Australian characters. It is not clear whether this is a real cultural rivalry, however its presentation is humorous to American audiences due to our concepts of the two country’s apparent similarities. The show also deftly parodies the music business. The band’s average gigs are at libraries or aquariums, with important performances occurring at dive bars. In the finale of season one Murray finds success managing a band called Crazy Dogggz that scores large with the moronic hit “Doggy Bounce,” a clear parody of how awful musicians and their songs become commercial hits.

In the second season finale, the show addresses illegal immigration when Murray invites members of the New Zealand embassy to a musical he produces narrating Jemaine and Bret’s lives. Ironically, the play mentions the illegal immigrant statuses of the Conchords’ members. Accordingly, the embassy members deport Bret, Jemaine, and Murray to New Zealand. Typical of the show’s humor, oblivious characters disclose information on major topics that ultimately harms them. In this instance, the show makes light fun of a serious national issue. Another recurring theme throughout the show is Bret and Jemaine’s awkward interactions with women. The characters have successful and unsuccessful romantic exploitations. All of their interactions have one thing in common, however: the duo never completely realizes how “normal” interactions with American females. This is indicative of Bret and Jemaine’s general ignorance of American cultural, but it is also an extreme version of the awkward-geek character type (e.g. Andy Stitzer in The Forty-Year Old Virgin) typical of contemporary comedy.

FOTC perfectly fits into the tradition of HBO original comedies. The network always seeks to give performing spots to young comedians. FOTC features a slew of roles from young comedians. Besides the three main characters, young comedians Eugene Mirman, Arj Barker, Kristen Schaal have recurring roles on the program, while Kristen Wiig, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, and Demetri Martin, among others, have guest starred on the program. The show’s comedy and mix of music and narrative are fairly unconventional. Because of its target audience and style, it is unlikely that the show would have been broadcast by any other network besides HBO or Comedy Central. The style and production of the show fit into HBO’s trend of unconventional comedies promoting young comedians.

The first FOTC season ran Sunday nights during HBO’s summer line-up, with Entourage acting as a lead-in program.[40] Entourage, a well-established program by 2007, appeals to a similar audience as that of FOTC. However, the comedic styles are quite, and it could be argued that while the latter appeals namely to a “hipster” audience, the former appeals much more to the “bro” type. The second season ran alongside the newly premiering comedy Eastbound and Down, the season finale of which got higher ratings than the finale of FOTC.[41] Though the show has ended, the band’s popularity continues. Jemaine Clement has recently appeared in Dinner for Schmucks and Despicable Me, while the duo appeared together in a recent episode of The Simpsons.


Web Integration

HBO.com

Sparse, HBO's website concentrates mainly on its schedule, thus furthering HBO's branding strategy of letting the exemplary programming speak for itself.  Interactive, the online schedule enables its users to search for a program and see when it will air throughout the week. Each program aired has it's own website as well. Almost all have screen shots, episode guides, and blogs written from the perspective of the characters about the events of the latest episode. HBO does a stellar job of providing fun, interactive extras that allow fans who find themselves on the website to interact more completely with their favorite shows. On the Big Love website, for example, fans can download Christmas songs sung by the cast, as well as watch a teaser of the upcoming season. In comparison, the Eastbound and Down website allows for users to create mash-ups of their favorite Kenny Power's moments and then enter them in a contest. All of the individual programs have fun extras like these. More bare than the television series' websites, HBO's movie websites only offer general summaries and lists of the cast.

HBO Broadband

In early 2008, HBO launched "HBO Broadband," a feature allowing subscribers online access to HBO programming. Initially, this service had many restrictions.  For example, subscribers needed both digital cable and internet supplied from the same, specific cable service to use the feature successfully.  Additionally, HBO Broadband was only available in Milwaukee and Green Bay during its inception. Likewise, the service was unavailable to satellite subscribers or Mac users. During its launch, Kessler stated that the service was mainly targeted to business travelers who generally watch online television.  The service would offer several episodes of many HBO original series as well as a rotating schedule of movies. The cable companies offering HBO Broadband hoped the service would encourage subscribers to bundle their Internet and television services.[42]

The service came of no extra charge to HBO subscribers. This incentive sought to recruit new subscribers and to maintain current subscribers. Kessler noted “[HBO is] different from the broadcast networks because we are not in the advertising business. We are in the subscription business, so if we can create services that increase the usage of our products, we can extend the life of a subscriber, which is great for us and for the cable operator.” In a New York Post article, Peter Lauria explained why HBO only offered HBO  Broadband exclusively to cable subscribers: “By tying its broadband service so closely to the cable operators, HBO is trying to accomplish two things: drive subscribers to its main cable network and help lure consumers to cable operators' digital services.”[43]

In 2010, HBO revamped its online service as “HBO Go,” which extended coverage beyond cable to Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse. The service offers a variety of HBO’s original programming, mainly episodes of current series in new seasons, with some seasons of older shows. Also, HBO Go contains over 200 movies that rotate with the network’s regular schedule. Most of the programming is offered in High Definition. Also included on HBO Go is the Series Pass, which automatically adds new episodes of a series to the user’s Watchlist.[44]

Critics have generally praised the layout, visual quality, and variety of programming. The service does have several setbacks, however. Satellite subscribers of the network still cannot access HBO's online service.  Likewise, the service is incompatible with third-party and mobile devices, such as the iPhone or the Xbox 360. A subscription-based network, HBO has hesitated in adding its current and previous programs to popular services, such as Hulu and Netflix. HBO Go is the network’s alternative to these services, and it is one that subscribers hope will expand beyond its current availability.[45]

HBO and Netflix Controversy

In August 2010, in an effort to expand its programming options, Netflix approached HBO concerning the option of allowing its subscribers access to stream HBO programming using Netflix Instant. HBO turned Netflix down. Kessler explained that HBO reached the decision they did because “there is value in exclusivity. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content”. [46] Netflix then signed a 900 million dollar, 5 year deal with Epix that allows them the rights to movies and programming owned by Paramount, Lions Gate, and MGM thereby limiting HBO's ability to air these films. This development could potentially affect HBO subscriptions, however, HBO exclusively owns streaming rights to Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal programming, meaning that the Netflix library will too retain some holes.[47] HBO’s refusal to work with Netflix, signals its support of HBO Go, which will work in competition with Netflix.

HBO and Google TV

In May of 2010, Google announced the development of a smart TV platform that would bring the wonders of the Internet into the living room.[48] Google TV, Google’s version of Apple TV, will allow users to use an HDMI input if necessary in order to keep traditional programming, browse the web through Google Chrome, use applications such as Youtube, Netflix, Twitter, and Flickr, and use an Android phone as a remote.[49]

All new Sony Hi-Definition Television Sets and Blu-ray players will be equipped with Google TV capabilities, but set-top boxes will also be available.[50]

On October 4, 2010 HBO announced that it had joined with Google TV to offer HBO on Google’s new platform. As Kessler explained, “The great thing about HBO Go is that it gives you choice and convenience to not only watch when you want, but wherever you want: on your PC or Mac, your iPhone or iPad, you can watch from anywhere. Clearly the way people are watching programming is changing. This is how young people watch. They don’t care where the content is; they just care about accessing it when they want and wherever they are.” [51] Google TV’s search function will help viewers to access HBO Go programming even faster than previously. The 600 hours of HBO programming that HBO GO and Google TV viewers will have access to can be narrowed down to an exact episode with only a quick Google search.

With Google TV and HBO Go, subscribers will be able to set up a watch list, access background material from the shows and share their viewing experience with others online. [52]

Current advertising for Google TV shows rotating billboards of TBS, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Cartoon Network and NBA games, thus giving Time Warner's programming the kind of exposure that Disney got in the Apple TV launch, furthering the speculation that Time Warner is using Google TV to directly challenge the Disney Corporation. This also helps to explain why HBO turned down a partnership with Netflix. [53]

Fan Forums

Official HBO Forum[54]

Like many other networks, HBO allows its enthusiastic viewers to create and continue a discourse of its programs by supporting an online community. Encouraging online participants, website members receive exclusive admission to HBO’s additional content, offers, and promotions pertaining to specific program forums.  Additionally, members can also custom their own preferences using HBO’s schedule and personal favorites option.  Visible to other HBO community members, each member profile includes the member’s name, picture, and “voice.” Essentially, members create virtual identities. Signifying a member’s vocal strength within the HBO community, three different levels exist: Beginning members start as a “Fresh Voice.” When members become more actively engaged in the forums, they will graduate to an “Active Voice.” The veteran members who become the forum’s key, knowledgeable members upgrade to an “Established Voice.”  Essentially, HBO’s system not only tracks one’s own progress in HBO knowledge, but also displays it to the online community.

HBO’s True Blood Fan Forum

Within the True Blood forum, many topics created by members center on exclusive knowledge concerning the show. For example, the most popular thread “The Know it All Club” encourages members to divulge information that proves their inside knowledge of upcoming episodes. Additionally, members who write in this thread demonstrate their prowess in and dedication to all things True Blood—almost to establish who appears the most obsessive and involved. However, the hierarchy of “voices” further endorses this friendly competition. By sharing this information, regardless of level, all members ultimately gain the information.

Other popular topics include specific episode discussions. First, the forum moderators routinely post a synopsis for those who missed the episode but want to take part in understanding the discussion. Thereafter, they let members run loose. No restrictions exist on where the ongoing conversation will go—whether members strictly relate their observations and opinions to the specific episode or find evidence to predict future happenings.

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