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The 10-year, $2-billion exclusive contract extension HBO inked with Universal Studios earlier this week underscores the trials and tribulations that TV channels and their distribution partners face when delivering an array of compelling and affordable content to consumers.

While once these channels – Home Box Office (HBO), The Movie Channel, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz – relied on first-run movie-loaded lineups to attract consumers, original programming now reigns supreme with consumers, who instead covet series such as True Blood, Game of Thrones, Dexter, Spartacus, Boardwalk Empire and countless others.