Green light for Ziggo and HBO

08.51 Europe/London, December 22, 2011 By Robert Briel

The European Commission has given the green light for the joint venture between Holland’s largest cable operator Ziggo and HBO to launch premium channels in the country.

The EC, the EU competition watchdog, said the deal would not lead to any competition issues. “On the contrary, the proposed transaction will increase competition in the acquisition of pay-TV content and in the wholesale of pay-TV channels in the Netherlands,” it said in a statement.
The plan is to roll out six premium channels under the HBO Nederland brand with a mix of movies of TV series. It seems likely that HBO Nederland will fill the multiplex with three channels in SD and three in HD.
The offer could also include a Dutch version of the HBO Go TV everywhere service. Ziggo has made its apps for both iPhone and iPads suitable for streaming live video.
HBO Nederland will be made available to other platforms in the country, but no carriage deals have been announced so far. The companies have not named a date when the new services will commence.
The launch of Dutch HBO premium channels means a new competitor to Chellomedia’s Film1 bouquet. Film1 has access to titles from all major studios with the exception of Sony Pictures. It seems likely that HBO Nederland will also gain access to Warner movies, as Time Warner is the sole owner of Home Box Office Inc.
Film1 has also made a pre-emptive move with the announcement of the launch of Film1 Series on January 17.

The joint venture between HBO and Ziggo comes to no surprise as the two companies have been working together for some time on the HBO On Demand S-VOD service since late last year.

Broadband TV News broke the news of the new venture in August. At the time the two involved parties, Ziggo and HBO declined to comment.