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Andrew HeiskellAndrew Heiskell
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magazine you can have very popular features that will carry a lot of other material. Once you're into a magazine you're apt to go through all of it--you may not read all of it but you leaf through all of it.

When you're dealing with an HBO, each program segment, to some extent, has to carry itself, because it's just so easy to turn the switch to another station. The minute you get bored you turn to another. So the sheer entertainment strength of each picture is an essential ingredient. It has to be. Now, obviously, you can't fill twenty-four hours with great movies. In fact, it's probable that the minds of all the directors put together can't produce more than twelve or fifteen or maybe twenty “great” movies in a year. So you are, indeed, filling an awful lot of time with either “inferior material” or material that doesn't appeal to a very large audience. Because the theory of HBO was that it would be very convenient for the viewer, because we play the same film at different hours on different days. So each film would run four or five times in a week, let's say, the theory being that that would give everybody a chance at it. To some extent it worked.

Then, of course, HBO was faced with the newest competitor, the video cassette. The video cassette allows the viewer to get, to pick the movie, he wants and get it earlier than it'll come on cable. So the video cassette probably has an awful lot to do with that straight upward line suddenly going flat.


You talked about the politics involved in Manhattan Cable--



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