HBO to Launch Spain Streaming Service, Take on Netflix

HBO CEO Richard Plepler
Smallz + Raskind

Time Warner's premium TV giant, which decides case-by-case whether to run traditional networks, offer an OTT service or license programming in foreign markets, is releasing a standalone streaming video service in the country.

Time Warner's HBO plans to launch a standalone streaming video service in Spain, where Netflix launched late in 2015, a rep for HBO confirmed.

The HBO service, which will give subscribers access to HBO content without a pay TV subscription, is scheduled to launch by the the end of the year, Bloomberg News first reported.

Spain has a reputation for having strong broadband reach but also suffering from widespread online piracy. HBO will offer its programming exclusively on the streaming service instead of licensing its shows to other TV providers in the country once current licensing pacts end.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler and his team have said that the premium TV giant decides whether to run its own linear networks, a streaming service or license its programming in each market depending on what makes the most financial and strategic sense. As of the end of 2015, HBO operated networks in 60 countries, licensed its programming to more than 150 markets and had an over-the-top digital service in Scandinavia in the form of HBO Nordic, launched in 2012.

Plepler has hinted at more OTT moves in international markets in the future.

In addition to Netflix, which launched in Spain last October, HBO will have to compete with some of its own product on other channels. Game of Thrones—which shot parts of Seasons 5 and 6 in Spain—is available on Telefonica’s rival streaming service Movistar + TV. Movistar + also offers Boardwalk Empire, Girls and In Therapy among others, thanks to a deal signed in January 2015.

Additionally, Spain’s No. 2 streaming service Wuaki.TV holds rights to The Sopranos, True Blood and Six Feet Under.

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