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Star Channel becomes HBO’s Japanese partner

Game Of ThronesJapanese premium movie net Star Channel has become the territory’s exclusive home of HBO programming.

An exclusive deal means subscribers to Sony Pictures Entertainment-backed Star will be the first to see HBO movies and series in Japan. It already has rights to key series such as Game of Thrones.

Time Warner-owned HBO has a similar pact with the likes of Sky, with an agreement earlier this month expanding the deal from the UK to all of the UK-based satcaster’s operating territories in Europe.

Upcoming big-ticket HBO programming includes music period drama Vinyl and sci-fi drama Westworld.

For Star Channel, the deal comes soon after its shareholders, SPE Japan and Tohokushinsya Film Corporation, appointed new representatives to the network in a bid to strengthen its programming and marketing clout.

From TFC came Keiichi Kosaka, who was appointed COO, and from Sony Pictures Television Hiroko Ozawa, the former general manager of pay TV channel AXN Japan, as CMO.

“At the re-branded Star Channel, we are committed to providing more than just content, but to offering value added services with a focus on originality and exclusivity, creating a unique community for cinema fan,” said Kosaka.

Star Channel operates three networks on Japanese cable.