HBO, Netflix Launch Scandinavian Ventures

Make separate announcements for new Nordic subscription services

Long-time rivals HBO and Netflix have issued separate announcements that they plan to launch new subscription services in the Scandinavia region.

As part of an ongoing international push, which has already led to the launch of Netflix services in Canada, Latin America, the U.K. and Ireland, Netflix will launch a Scandinavian service in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland in late 2012.

As in its other international markets, the subscription broadband video service will offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies from Hollywood, local producers and other suppliers of content from around the world. Details about pricing and specifics won't, however, be announced until closer to launch.

For its part, HBO is partnering with Peter Ekelund/Parsifal International to launch what it is billing as a "new joint multiplatform video distribution venture, HBO Nordic," that will serve Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

Internationally, HBO was one of the earliest programmers to expand internationally in the 1990s and it already offers branded television networks and the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO Go, in over 60 countries. HBO programming is also sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

Details concerning the new HBO Nordic service will be announced in Sweden at the end of the month, but Parsifal International is a rapidly growing supplier of new media services in Europe. Over the past few years the URHOtv subsidiary of Parsifal, has become the leading sports TV service in Finland with a offering of linear pay TV, Web TV and mobile.

"HBO is delighted to be entering into a new marketplace and a promising partnership with Parsifal International," said Simon Sutton, president, HBO International and Content Distribution in a statement. "We look forward to working with this innovative company and making our new venture a great success."

"I am very proud and excited to be a partner with HBO", added Peter Ekelund, owner of Parsifal International in a statement. "The Nordic pay TV market has a tremendous growth potential for new innovative services which respond to the existing shifts in consumer viewing habits on multiple screens. Parsifal will bring its expertise in the distribution of pay TV services on multiple platforms."