While in the US, requests for an HBO Go subscription option that brings the channel's programming without being tethered to a cable or satellite-TV package go unheeded, HBO revealed today that its Scandinavian offering will do just that. While the HBO Nordic joint venture between HBO and Parsifal International will be available over "local distribution partners," it is also available strictly as an over-the-top service for VOD and subscription access to premium content for less than €10 when it launches in October. It brings all the HBO current and catalog content you'd expect (subtitled for the local markets in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark) and it's also tossing in content from other providers, like the popular Canadian show Continuum. CEO Hervé Payan says it will be available on "any" internet connected device, and says the decision to go over the top is because its target group of viewer have changed their consumption to multiple screens.
Netflix revealed its own plans to expand to the region this fall on the same day HBO Nordic was originally announced, and CEO Reed Hastings welcomed the competition with a message on Facebook asking when HBO would bring the service to the USA, and joking that it expected the first match-up to be in Albania. In case you forgot, that last dig was a reference to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes 2010 statement comparing Netflix to the possibility of the Albanian army taking over the world. The battle is on this fall, we'll see if it's just a dry run for other regions soon.
HBO NORDIC TO LAUNCH MID-OCTOBER
The first HBO® branded service will be available in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark offering hit series like Boardwalk Empire℠, The Newsroom℠, Game of Thrones℠, True Blood℠, Veep℠, Girls℠ plus films, documentaries and much more.
Stockholm, August 30th, 2012 – HBO Nordic AB, the newly formed joint venture of Home Box Office, Inc. and Parsifal International, has announced that it will launch its linear and on-demand premium pay TV service mid-October 2012 in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
As the first HBO-branded service in the region, HBO Nordic will offer a premium, 24-hour, advertising-free channel. HBO will offer both subscription and transactional video-on-demand services, providing premium content directly to consumers via HBO Nordic's untethered, "over-the-top" platform, hbonordic.com, and also via local distribution partners.
"We saw a rapid change in Nordic TV consumption these past years. Our target group is younger and more urban than the existing premium pay TV subscribers and they consume TV on multiple screens, particularly on computers, smartphones and tablets. Most of them associate HBO with best in class series. We view this as a unique opportunity for HBO to grow digital pay-TV subscriptions in the region", says Hervé Payan, CEO of HBO Nordic.
HBO Nordic will offer subscribers all seasons and behind- the-scene materials of hit series, including Boardwalk Empire℠, The Newsroom℠, Game of Thrones℠, True Blood℠, Veep℠ and Girls℠, as well as classics like Sex and the City℠, The SopranosSM and The WireSM and new series premiering in the Nordics from other content providers including titles such as Magic City℠, Hit and Miss℠, Continuum℠, and Borgia. The HBO Nordic offering will also include feature films from major Hollywood and international studios, local distributors and independents.
"HBO Nordic is the first service in the Nordic countries to combine day-and-date delivery and streaming of the latest episodes of an HBO original series subtitled in the local language, with all past seasons. This service will be available on any internet connected device", says Hervé Payan.
All programs will be available to subscribers for less than €10 via the network's streaming service hbonordic.com.