26 AUG 2021

Is HBO Max the perfect match for the Nordic audience?

Mediavision concluded that HBO Max and Discovery+ combined would make a significantly stronger customer offering, based on Nordic consumer preferences.

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The global SVOD market is undergoing heavy market consolidation – with strong impact also in the Nordics. HBO Nordic is one of the services in the very centre of attention with both the launch of HBO Max in 2022, and the upcoming merger of Warner and Discovery, Mediavision noted in its latest report.

HBO Nordic launched as a Nordic SVOD service in late 2012, with HBO content specifically selected to appeal to Nordic consumers. Following initial challenges - such as technical issues -, HBO Nordic proved to be a success and grew fast. With mega hits like “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective” and “Westworld,” HBO Nordic has become a strong brand name and is one of the major players in this region. However, growth has slowed down significantly and since autumn 2020, development has been weak with negative customer growth in the Nordics (as per a year-on-year comparison).

In May this year, news broke that HBO’s owner AT&T were to merge its WarnerMedia division with Discovery in a deal worth US$150 billion. The aim is to form a standalone, global entertainment company. As Mediavision commented earlier, combining the HBO Nordic and Discovery+ services looks like a successful strategic move also in this part of the world. The two services would obtain a substantially bigger market share together, since there is only limited overlap in consumer uptake today. It would not outperform the two leading actors, Netflix and Viaplay, in number of subscribers but based on today’s market it would strengthen the position vis-à-vis most others (such as Disney+ and several other local Nordic players).

“Further, looking at content supply, Mediavision can conclude that the two services combined would make a significantly stronger customer offering, based on Nordic consumer preferences. However, several pieces to this puzzle are yet to be determined,”  the report concluded.