It’s all happening right now in the Nordic countries: HBO Nordic (the newly formed joint venture of Home Box Office and Parsifal International) has confirmed that it will be launching an over-the-top video service mid-October 2012.
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 (OTT) 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.
Having built some of the fastest and most robust broadband networks in Europe, the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are clearly capturing the imagination of video providers: US online video service Netflix confirmed a couple of weeks ago that it will be launching in the region by the end of the year, with HBO’s Nordic plans announced shortly afterwards.
Traditional pay-TV operators also appear keen not to miss out: just a couple of days ago Danish cable operator YouSee revealed that it has ordered hybrid set-top boxes from French firm Netgem to deliver VOD services to customers outside its cable footprint.
The region’s market for managed IPTV services remains vibrant however, and local telecoms giant TeliaSonera divulged just yesterday that it has partnered with Korean TV maker Samsung to deliver IPTV services direct to the latter’s Smart TVs, bypassing the set-top box entirely.