HBO will stream to non-cable subscribers... in four European countries

By on August 30, 2012, 6:00 PM

HBO will start selling streaming subscriptions to non-cable customers for the first time in October, but only to citizens of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. The new service, dubbed HBO Nordic, will offer customers access to the linear, 24-hour movie channel that cable customers are used to, as well as an on-demand library of HBO, Showtime and Starz content for under €10 a month (about $12.50).

The company has been offering a similar streaming service internationally with HBO Go, which makes all HBO original programming available online, but it is only available to those who subscribe to the network though a traditional cable contract -- a move that has been criticized by cord-cutters.

Although one would hope this was just the first step in a wider rollout, HBO says we should’t count on it. According to a company spokesman, the model is specific to the Nordic region, taking into consideration the various factors specific to these countries, and doesn't impact HBO offerings in other territories.

Variety notes that this is a market where HBO doesn't have to protect an entrenched business model as lucrative as the one in the US, where a standalone product would jeopardize its deals with distributors from Comcast to DirecTV. On the other hand, the move will give them a head start against Netflix, which just yesterday announced plans to bring its streaming video service to the region before year-end.

All in all, there's no guarantee that cable-free HBO will be coming to other markets any time soon, but ongoing trends suggest it could happen eventually. Roughly 2.65 million subscribers have dropped their cable or satellite television service since 2008 according to reports, with 1.05 million of those in 2011 alone. Cord cutters are instead opting for cheaper online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

User Comments: 4

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ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

True, even with Netflix instant's "lack good movies and TV shows" I still find enough stuff I like to never watch tv. I'm thinking about switching to Hulu though if their mobile app for android gets improved. If showtime offered this I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

likedamaster said:

That's not even fair. U.S. am cry.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Yay! Game of Thrones streamed to Sweden! I can't wait to not pay their streaming fee, to wait until tpb releases it, and then 'stream' it to my servers hard drive!

Seriously, I actually remember a time when television was free, and you just paid your tv license fee. Now every content provider wants to take your money, and I dont plan on paying 12$ a month for each provider that aires the shows I want to watch. Why can't they come up with say Netflix that acts as The Internets TV, and you pay a single subscription fee to Netflix, and get the content from every provider, which would be a more accurate digital analogy to the old tv-over-the-radio-waves format. And by the way, why am I still paying tv licenses when I pay my satellite provider a shed load of money every month for all my content and never watch over-the-air tv?

I'd even go with iTunes model where I pay per show, then I'd only pay for the shows I wanted to watch. As long as the price was reasonable.

avoidz avoidz said:

*sigh* Still waiting for HBO to make premium shows available worldwide. There are wallets with money waiting to pour forth dollars to HBO when this happens. How long do we have to wait?

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