Last Thursday, HBO announced that it would be offering service to “cord cutters” in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark this October with its HBO Nordic service. HBO Nordic is a joint venture between HBO and Parsifal International, an entertainment and technology company, and will offer an equivalent to the US HBO Go service but with one major difference: users in Nordic countries do not need to be signed up with a cable provider to take advantage.
In the US, HBO Go is not offered as a standalone product, and is only available to subscribers who are signed up for HBO with a cable television provider or satellite television provider. This offer is in response to a rapid change in Nordic TV users, many of whom use mobile devices, tablets and laptops for their primary television access. Nordic countries, particularly Finland, the home of Nokia, have generally been ahead of the United States in adopting mobile technologies across a majority of their populations.
HBO Nordic is the first time HBO programming has been offered in the Nordic region. All of HBO’s TV shows, including Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Veep and Girls will be available to online subscribers for streaming for a price less than 10 Euros per month. Feature films and classic HBO favorites like The Sopranos, The Wire and Sex and the City will also be available for streaming, much as they are with the HBO Go service in the United States.
HBO’s willingness to open up their programming to streaming only options should give hope to United States viewers who do not want to sign up for premium cable but would like access to some of HBO’s premium programming. Not too much hope, however; the cable and satellite providers in the United States do not want this to happen, and it will likely take contracts with those providers to end before anything like this will show up in the US.