HBO - Branding


When the network launched in 1972, HBO's logo featured the channel's full name "HOME BOX OFFICE" and a ticket stub surrounded by a marquee light design. In 1975, it began using an uppercase 'HBO' with a circle inside the 'O'; however for the first few years, the logo featured the 'O' cutting into the 'B'. The logo was modified in 1980 (not completely replacing the original until 1981) when HBO started using the current version of the logo with the 'B' and the 'O' still attached to each other but with the 'O' no longer intercutting the 'B'. The simplicity of the logo makes it fairly easy to duplicate, something HBO has taken advantage of many times over the years. The logo became iconic due to what is perhaps the network's most famous program-opening sequence, "HBO in Space", used from fall 1982 until 1997, and produced by Liberty Studios of New York City in 1982 and debuted on the network later that year. The original full version begins with a look in a window at a family (sometimes only a husband and wife) sitting down to watch TV, with their cable box and/or TV tuned to HBO (that part was replaced in late 1983 with a cloudscape). It then pans and flies through a cityscape and into the countryside and then moves up into outer space, where a starburst appears and the HBO logo (in starship form) appears and rotates toward the camera before multi-colored beams move around the "O" and take the camera inside it, where the type of program is revealed (generally the feature presentation). HBO also used a shortened version of this opening sequence which began with a fade in to show the starry night sky. The starburst (or stargate effect) occurs, and the logo flies towards you as in the regular opening. Several versions of the intro appear on YouTube, including one posted by HBO's official YouTube channel. The accompanying fanfare, originally composed by Ferdinand Jay Smith III of Jay Advertising for Score Productions, has been re-orchestrated several times over the years, with arrangements from the traditional horns to piano. The current feature presentation bumper still uses a modified version of this theme.

Another famous HBO ID, "Neon Lights," designated non-8 p.m. movies from December 1986 to fall 1997. The sequence, set to an electric guitar theme, begins with a purple HBO logo on a vertical filmstrip as light rays shoot through it; the camera then pans around several CG slots glowing in blue, green and pink until a light flash hits several spheres glowing in various rainbow colors. The spheres zoom out forming the HBO logo in light purple with "Movie" written in cursive in magenta with the rainbow spheres on a black background behind the words.

Between 1997 and 1999 HBO used several "Feature Presentation" opens which showed the HBO logo in different situations, such as a fish in water, a celebrity in a limo, a large HBO logo chasing a man, and on the rooftop of a building.

The next HBO "Feature Presentation" bumper used from 1999 until April 1, 2011 also used CGI graphics. The version seen every day featured the camera flying over ground as spotlights rapidly turn on, one by one. The camera suddenly slows, begins to face the "ground" and reveals a HBO logo-shaped lake, and the words "Feature Presentation" appear one by one, in 3D. The full version, only seen during Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night movies, began on a city street, showing a movie theater marquee which reads "HBO FEATURE PRESENTATION" in all caps. The camera zooms into a box office booth and then flashes, changes scenery and zooms through a country road passing under a "H"-shaped tower, then a snowy mountain road jumping over a drop-down cliff, and goes through a "B"-shaped tunnel on the other side, then rapidly coming upon a desert road catching up to a "O"-shaped tanker truck. It then appears in an urban neighborhood with skyscrapers visible in the background passing by houses and stores, and a city bus. The road becomes a bridge, coming upon the downtown of the city, bypassing the buildings seen earlier. The same animation that is seen in the more common shorter version then plays as usual.

The current HBO "Feature Presentation" bumper used since April 2, 2011 features a blue aurora background, the HBO logo, and the words "Feature Presentation".

HBO bucks the general trend in pay-TV networks (including the themed networks of sister channel Cinemax) and does not brand programming with digital on-screen graphic logos of the main network and each respective theme channel.

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