SINGAPORE - Television audiences here are enjoying shorter waits to catch their favourite shows, as cable channels are broadcasting programmes faster than ever after their initial telecast overseas.
Starting July, HBO Asia will broadcast all original HBO and Cinemax programmes less than 24 hours after their premiere in the United States.
Currently, Singaporean viewers have to wait around one week after the shows' US debuts before they can watch them on TV here.
An upcoming show to fall under HBO Asia's new scheme is The Knick directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen, Cinemax's period drama set in a hospital in early 20th century New York City.
The latest episodes of HBO's original series such as The Newsroom and Boardwalk Empire will also be available on TV here within one day of their American premieres come July.
The new move is part of the cable channel's efforts to combat online piracy, given how easy it is for Internet users to illegally access such programmes almost immediately after they are broadcast overseas.
HBO TV series Game Of Thrones is reportedly the world's most pirated TV show with more than four million illegal downloads per episode.
On HBO Asia's new scheme, the company's CEO, Mr Jonathan Spink, says: "By offering viewers legitimate content in a timely and more convenient manner, we hope to be able to continue to encourage viewers to support the fight against online piracy."
Asked how the company is now able to accommodate the speedier broadcast, Ms Magdalene Ew, HBO Asia's head of marketing in content and creative services, says that "in addition to receiving materials slightly earlier than before to cater to subtitling and regulatory content requirements, changes have to be made to internal and vendor work processes".
She adds: "Operational costs have gone up to ensure a shorter window, but we think it's an investment we should undertake to add value to our viewers by offering legitimate content faster, given the rampant phenomenon of online theft."
HBO Asia is not the only company doing this. Other cable channels have also been trying to minimise the waiting time for TV audiences here in order to stay competitive and reduce potential for piracy.
Cable channel Fox Movies Premium (StarHub TV Channel 622), for example, broadcasts the fourth and latest season of hit zombie drama The Walking Dead just 11/2 hours after it is first shown in the US.