HBO Pulling Dutch Pay-TV Channels at Year's End4 Oct, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Premium channel planning to launch new standalone service with Dutch MVPD later this year
HBO will shutter its network of pay-TV channels in Holland — HBO Nederland, effective Jan. 1, 2017 — more than four years after launching on Dutch operators Ziggo, CanalDigitaal and KPN. The U.S. premium channel stalwart, together with Ziggo, plans to introduce a new — likely broadband-based — HBO product later this year.
“After careful consideration, the joint venture partners have determined that discontinuing the service is the best business decision and that we believe our customers will be better served by a different service that will feature HBO content, including full library,” a spokesperson told Variety.
In a note to subscribers, Ziggo said HBO original programs, including new series “Westworld,” “Games of Thrones,” “The Night Of” and “Silicon Valley,” among others, would continue through Dec. 31. The multichannel video program distributor with more than 4 million video subscribers (through June 30) said HBO subs would no longer be billed after the New Year, and should receive emails in advance of the yet unnamed new service’s launch.
The restructuring comes as Netflix continues to build its Dutch sub base.
Netflix Holland ended 2015 with nearly 1.3 million subs since launching service in 2013. With Amazon reportedly planning to bow its Prime Video service in the country in 2017, HBO rejiggering its platform with an MVPD planning to merge with Vodafone Netherlands would appear a safe bet, according to Kamiel Albrecht, analyst with Telecompaper.
“Exclusive HBO content, sport rights and an existing SVOD platform offer Ziggo the possibility to start thinking hard about launching its own OTT SVOD service. The competition is already there, as rivals KPN and T-Mobile have entered the market, and Netflix has already grown to over a fifth of Dutch households,” Albrecht wrote in an Oct. 4 op-ed.