English movie channel HBO is looking at offering an advertisement-free viewer experience in India, similar to what it does in several markets globally. The company has held talks with distribution platforms for this purpose.HBO Asia chief executive officer Jonathan Spink said: “As part of our future strategy, we’re looking at offering HBO free of commercials in India just as we do in several international markets. However, it will require the consumer to pay more as subscription fee to be able to watch the channel and that would take some time.” Mr Spink added that the fact that most DTH platforms are currently looking at grabbing numbers rather than growing average revenues per user (ARPUs), it could be challenging to follow this business model. The broadcaster is also exploring to leverage revenue streams like video-on-demand and pay-per-view model on distribution platforms. “It would be interesting how video-on-demand develops in India. This could particularly put DTH players at a disadvantage over cable operators,” he said. He added that India figures among the most important media markets for broadcasters and entertainment companies. “While the US is a very mature market and the business is not growing, China is a difficult market to crack for media companies. Therefore, India promises robust growth for entertainment companies,” he said. The broadcaster is present in India for the past eight years and believes that it’s neck-and-neck with its competitor Star Movies. “Our advertising revenues have grown 15-20% over the last year and we reach out to over 28-million subscribers,” Mr Spink said. However, with a huge number of new channels being launched, the viewership ratings growth is going to be slow for channels. “India would evolve to be a tricky market. With rating growth going to be slow, it would be difficult to maintain high growth figures for broadcasters, especially since distribution platforms have a capacity crunch and are charging carriage fee to carry all these channels,” Mr Spink said. HBO is also toying with the idea of using local talent to create signature HBO Originals but has not yet decided whether it would be based on an India-specific situation.