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HBO takes on Netflix in battle for Nordic viewers

HBO takes on Netflix in battle for Nordic viewers

Published: 31 Aug 2012 17:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 Aug 2012 17:16 GMT+02:00

The HBO announcement prompted Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to post the following message on his Facebook page on Thursday:

"Excited to see HBO join us in offering standalone streaming service in Scandinavia…what about the USA? We thought the first match-up would be in Albania."

HBO has long ruled out a stand-alone internet-only plan for US, but such a service will soon be available in the Nordic countries.

So far Swedes have been able to watch some of HBO's hit series, like "The Wire" and "True Blood", on Sveriges Television (SVT) and on the cable station Canal Plus.

Soon, however, Swedish and other Nordic viewers will also be able to access HBO's programming online.

HBO announced on Thursday that it plans to launch a website called HBONordic.com which will offer online subscriptions for under €10 per month ($12.50), Variety magazine reports.

The service will also be available as an add-on to basic pay-TV subscriptions in the region, according to the Reuters news agency.

Netflix, which offers online film streaming and DVD rental deliveries, plans to launch its services in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland by the end of this year.

HBO Nordic's streaming subscription offer will launch in the same countries as early as the middle of October.

While it's not yet clear who will win the HBO-Netflix battle, as the two US companies prepare to go head-to-head one thing is certain: Nordic TV and movie ans will be spoilt for choice, with hit shows like "Game of Thrones" and a slew of popular films soon available on their desktops at the click of a mouse.

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Your comments about this article

17:12 September 1, 2012 by Abe L
Netflix has nothing to worry about. HBO charges more for less content, as it's only HBO stuff. Second they made a "Nordic" version rather then provide what people really want. Such initiatives can offer an excellent means to prevent people from resorting to piracy but they blatantly ignore what the customers want.

If they could just provide a 1:1 copy of the US product, including release dates then they are halfway there. But instead you get stuck with a localised version with all kinds of junk and limitations and content months after the US.

I expect Netflix to be succesful here as it simply provides a good product, HBO isn't there yet. But both will need to work harder on releasing content here just as fast as in the US, all in HD quality and without any form of commercials, be it for products or content on the service.
08:30 September 2, 2012 by Douglas Garner
Comment: Abe L... you hit it on the head. Unfortunately, the media industry in Sweden is absurdly expensive and of limited quality. We are ComHem subscribers and live in a Comhem house, but have watched our overall service costs soar as they make us pay extra for what were included channels and add service fees galore. Last year, the package I bought for my inlaws which cost 600kr/mo now costs 800/mo. Newspapers cost nearly 2USD in Sweden instead of 50 cents with minimal content. Paperback books are 50% more than their selling price in the UK... this has nothingwhatsoever to do with VAT! It is no wonder that many of us order merchandise on-line from England. Even after we add VAT and freight, it is less expensive than purchasing locally.
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