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Royal Group in HBO rights agreement

THE Royal Group's Cambodia Entertainment Production Co Ltd (CEPCO) said Thursday it had obtained the exclusive rights to distribute American cable network HBO channels to nearly 100 cable operators in Cambodia.

Ouk Vora, general manager of CEPCO, said that there were 1.5 million potential viewers of HBO programming, but that the lack of law enforcement meant that many cable operators were illegally redirecting network signals from neighbouring countries.

"We are [HBO's] exclusive distributor in Cambodia. I would like to call for all operators to obtain licences for all HBO content from now on," Ouk Vora told the Post in an interview Thursday.

Cambodia currently has no legal access to the five channels operated by HBO, and the cost of accessing the channel - and any potential future channels - is likely to be passed onto the consumer, Ouk Vora said. He added that cable operators would have to upgrade to digital technology before they could start charging customers for separate channel packages - the cost of HBO's channels, based on experiences elsewhere, would set users back between US$7 and $10 per month.

Chhum Socheath, Ministry of Information Cabinet chief, confirmed Wednesday that the Royal Group of Companies had purchased the licence to distribute HBO to hotel and cable TV operators in Cambodia. "[Royal Group Chairman] Kith Meng has an exclusive right to distribute," he said.

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