HBO is going to launch its first significant over-the-top offering, and it’s going to do so in one of the same markets as Netflix. The service, called HBO Nordic, will be launched in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland in mid-October, and could provide some interesting competition to Netflix, which will also soon be entering that region.
HBO Nordic is a joint venture between Home Box Office and Parsifal International, which will help bring the company’s original programming to the region. Viewers in the Nordic states will have multiple ways of getting HBO Nordic: it will launch a premium, 24-hour live channel that will be distributed through local TV providers. But HBO Nordic will also be available direct to consumers as an on-demand, over-the-top video offering that will cost less than €10 per month.
The content offering will be similar to its online HBO GO service in the U.S., which makes all HBO original programming available online. That will include its current slate of shows, such as Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and True Blood, as well as older series such as The Wire and Sex and the City. In addition, it will have other content available, including series premiering in the Nordics such as Magic City, Hit and Miss, Continuum, and Borgia. It will also include major feature films from Hollywood and international studios, local distributors, and independents.
The offering will be HBO’s first major over-the-top offering, but it will also be put it in direct competition with Netflix for the first time. Netflix announced a few weeks ago that it would be launching in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland by the end of the year. While the two video providers both have content available in many of the same markets, they haven’t yet competed with the same business model.
Netflix operates a streaming-only video service that it sells direct to consumers, but this is HBO’s first major attempt at making its content available to all viewers online. In the U.S., HBO GO is only available to those who subscribe to its premium content network. And in many other international markets, HBO licenses its content to local distributors. So it will be an interesting experiment for the network.
This is probably an awesome time to mention that HBO’s SVP of Digital Products Alison Moore will be at TechCrunch Disrupt in a few weeks. I’ll be sure to ask her how HBO Nordic will compete against Netflix in that region, and if we can expect more availability of its over-the-top service in other markets around the world. Get your tickets here!