US cable channel HBO to roll out streaming service in Spain this year

Producer of hit shows such as ‘Game of Thrones’ looking to compete with Netflix

A scene from HBO’s hit show ‘Game of Thrones.’
A scene from HBO’s hit show ‘Game of Thrones.’

After the arrival of Netflix in Spain last October, and the increasingly solid position of on-demand service Yomvi (now home to the catalogue of recently merged Canal+ and Telefónica’s Movistar), the range and popularity of internet TV available in the country is starting to attract more competitors. One of these is the US cable giant HBO, which, according to statements made by the company’s international distribution chief Simon Sutton to Bloomberg, is preparing to launch its own on-demand service in Spain.

Once current contracts with Movistar+ expire, HBO’s content will only be available via its streaming service

There aren’t many details available yet, nor are there exact dates or prices. But in other locations where the service is already available, such as the Nordic countries, a monthly subscription costs around €10. What is clear is that this will be a purely internet-based service, similar to that offered by Netflix in Spain right now.

The move will mean that HBO will begin to hold on to the rights of all of its content, which will be available via its streaming service rather than through pay channels. Among the upcoming new shows from the channel is Vinyl, created by Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter, and Westworld, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris.

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However, as was the case with Netflix, HBO shows already have distribution in Spain (titles such as Game of Thrones, Girls, The Leftovers…) via Movistar+, and will be available first on that platform. But once the current contracts expire, all of that content will only be available via HBO’s streaming service.

In countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, the HBO streaming service also offers subscribers access to shows that have concluded, such as The Sopranos and The Wire, as well as productions from other channels such as Showtime and Starz. In the Nordic countries, the service has picked up 650,000 subscribers since it went live in 2012.

Among the reasons for HBO to begin its adventure in Spain is the roll-out of fiber optic connections and high-speed internet, which is arriving in more and more homes. What’s more, the HBO brand is already very well known in the country. According to Simon Sutton, “Spain is not the first and Spain is not the last.”

English version by Simon Hunter.


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