HBO Was The First Cable Network
The arrival of satellite television jeopardized so many industries. Theaters thought that no one would want to go out anymore if they could watch the movies at home. Local vendors believed that no one would use their resources for weather and such. None of this happened of course, but one of the earliest subscription-based cable networks was The Green Channel. This was supported by Time Inc. in 1972 and was soon changed to the name we all know and love, HBO (Home Box Office).
Their first commercial-free airing was of Sometimes a Great Notion (1970). The company felt so good about what they were doing that they signed a six-year, $7.5 million contract! Afterwards, they broadcasted Ali vs. Frazier boxing match ("Thrilla in Manila") in October 1975 for the entire world to see. Because of this, HBO is known as “the first successful, satellite-delivered pay-cable service in the U.S.”
Soon after this, other companies began to follow in the big man’s (HBO’s) footsteps. A few of the following channels were Viacom’s Showtime (1976, with satellite broadcast in 1978), Warner Amex’s The Movie Channel (1979), Time/HBO’s Cinemax (1980), the Disney Channel (1983) and AMC (1984).
The introduction of cable also introduced the freedom to use adult content and language via the paid networking. Although it was intensely controversial, it was generally looked at as another step towards ultimate freedom.