Insight: Interest for HBO Boosted in the Nordics – as Nordic becomes Max


25 October 2021

On October 26, HBO Nordic will be replaced by HBO Max. And it is not only a simple switch. According to the owner WarnerMedia the service will be both broader and better than before. This means more content and more genres, at a lower price. Mediavision’s analysis, based on new Nordic data, shows a boosted interest for HBO in the Nordics as Max launches.

The interest in the not-yet-launched service HBO Max is substantial in the Nordics. The majority of households that plan to purchase HBO Max, already have at least one video streaming service. This implies that HBO Max will drive stacking rather than overall household penetration – similar to how Disney+ entered the Nordics just over a year ago. Since then, Disney+ has managed to add over 1.6 million Nordic households in less than one year – on a market with saturated household penetration.

This is positive news for WarnerMedia, especially since the past year has been somewhat challenging for Max’s predecessor HBO Nordic. According to Mediavision’s analysis, 1.9 million Nordic households subscribed to HBO Nordic spring 2020. Since then, the service has lost approximately 145 000 subscribing households – during a period when the pandemic spurred growth for other major streaming services. The overall growth on the SVOD market since spring 2020 is approximately 3 million new subscriptions.

So, what has boosted the interest in HBO? As always, the answer is probably “a combination of things”.

  • New and lower price
    An HBO Max subscription will be 8.90 EUR per month – compared to 10.95 EUR for HBO Nordic today. At launch, current subscribers to HBO Nordic are eligible to a launch offer: Full year for 69.99 EUR. This puts HBO Max at the lower end of SVOD pricing in the Nordics. Only Apple TV Plus and Amazon Prime Video offers subscriptions at a lower price.
  • Multiple streams
    HBO Max has one subscription tier, allowing three simultaneous streams (vs two for the current HBO Nordic). To access Netflix’s top tier (four simultaneous streams) the price is 15.99 EUR per month – strengthening HBO’s pricing power even further.
  • Content supply
    Content is king, as always. The launch of HBO Max will bring a whole new set of series and movies to the service, including DC Comics, Cartoon Networks, and of course the original HBO Max content. The first announced local original is the Swedish comedy drama “Lust”, staring Sofia Helin and Anja Lundqvist. And there is more to come according to the company. The “old” HBO Nordic has presented a few Nordic originals, among those Björnstad (SE), Kamikaze (DK), Welcome to Utmark (NO)
    and At Home/Eristyksissä (FI).

In addition, HBO Max will entail substantial improvements to technical aspects of the service. This includes an overall improvement of user experience and the possibility to create individual profiles, as well as usage of the service on an unlimited number of devices. This is a lot more generous compared to today’s HBO Nordic.

HBO Max launched in the US in May 2020 and the international rollout began in June the same year. Combined, the HBO Max and HBO streaming services have amassed a total of 69.4 million subscribers globally since then. In Q3 2021, total number of global subscribers increased by 12.5 million compared to the same period in 2020. On October 26th, HBO Max will launch in six European countries (The Nordics being four of these), and 14 additional territories will be added in 2022.

In summary, HBO is pulling a “Disney” on the Nordic market. Launching a “high-end” fiction-oriented, technically advanced service at a significantly lower-than-average price. And with a history of great performance on the Nordic market and a high consumer interest in “Max”, things are looking very exciting for HBO.