HBO Nordic heads for Scandinavia to take on Netflix

Editor | 17-08-2012

Following hot on the heels of Netflix' planned entry into Scandinavia, HBO has announced HBO Nordic, which will serve Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark with a multiscreen VOD offering.

HBO is partnering with Parsifal International on the launch. "I am very proud and excited to be a partner with HBO," said Peter Ekelund, owner of Parsifal International. "The Nordic pay-TV market has a tremendous growth potential for new innovative services which respond to the existing shifts in consumer viewing habits on multiple screens. Parsifal will bring its expertise in the distribution of pay-TV services on multiple platforms."
HBO said that details of the service will be announced in Sweden at the end of the month, leaving some to wonder if an ad hoc, direct-to-consumer strategy is in the works. However, the company, a subsidiary of Time Warner Cable, has never had a distribution strategy that involves cutting out cable and satellite partners. To that end, the premium cable network already offers its HBO GO on-demand service throughout the U.S. and in nine European countries, which allows existing HBO subscribers to authenticate to the service using their cable or satellite to view the totality of the HBO catalogue on smartphones, tablets or the Web. Service will soon launch in Brazil.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has characterised HBO GO as his company's biggest competition. Now it will be going head to head in the multiscreen on-demand streaming game in the same greenfield market, which offers 25 million people but only one other competitor: Amazon's LoveFiLM, which has amassed only 2 million subscribers so far.