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Battle of the Bulge: Netflix, HBO Sign Separate Belgian Telecoms

29 Sep, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Belgian telecom operator Belgacom Sept. 29 announced it signed a deal with Netflix to provide direct access to the subscription streaming pioneer’s subscribers.

Belgacom, which announced it is rebranding its pay-TV business to Proximus to incorporate mobile, broadband and landline businesses under one corporate theme, said it would include the Netflix app in all set-top boxes by the end of the year. The telecom has about 1.5 million subscribers.

"Netflix is without doubt a new player which has been very eagerly awaited; I'm proud to announce this partnership which reflects the dynamics of our new brand and enables us to offer an amazing experience to our customers on Proximus TV,” Philip Vanderwoot, consumer market officer at Belgacom, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the agreement comes as rival Belgian Telenet — which has 2 million subs — earlier in the month renewed a deal with HBO to become “Home of HBO” in the European country. The pact includes pay-TV, VOD and packaged-media access to the premium channel’s original programing catalog, which includes "Band of Brothers," "Generation Kill" and "The Sopranos,” among others.

With the arrival of Netflix, Telenet and HBO said they are working to shorten the current seven-day gap to make available to subscribers episodes of “Game of Thrones” within 24 hours of their U.S. broadcast premiere.

“Over the years, the partnership with HBO has only become deeper. Over the past three years, we have had the exclusive rights to key HBO series in Flanders and now we are very pleased to take that partnership to the next level and become the ‘Home of HBO,’” Jeroen Bronselaer, VP of product entertainment, said in a statement.

The agreement also includes subscriber access to boxed packaged-media sets of HBO content.

“We want to give [subscribers] all the choices and let everyone decide where, how and when they view the series of their choice,” Bronselaer said.

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