Netflix Launches Scandinavian Service With Warner Films in Earliest Window

Netflix - Generic Image - 2010
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In a first for Netflix, its Nordic service will offer Warner films earlier than elsewhere in addition to providing titles from Scandinavian producers and distributors.

COLOGNE, Germany - Netflix has started its Nordic expansion, rolling out a local version of its subscription video streaming service in Denmark and Sweden.

In Sweden, Netflix has teamed up with music streaming company Spotify, offering Spotify users free trial access to Netflix until year's end.

Netflix has stocked its Scandinavian service with Hollywood studio offerings via licensing deals with Warner Bros., Fox, Sony, Disney and CBS, but has also signed multiple content deals with local distributors, including Nordisk, Svensk, Scanbox and NonStop. It also has content deals with major independent suppliers, including BBC Worldwide and British commercial network ITV.

Given Time Warner's plans to roll out the HBO Go online video service in the region, it is significant that Netflix's Scandinavian service will offer Warner films in the earliest window, a first for the company.

The Swedish service, after the free-trial period, will cost SEK 79 ($11.81) per month. The Danish service charges DKK 79 ($13.70) a month. Netflix plans to roll out its online offering in Norway and Finland before the end of the year.

The Nordic expansion follows Netflix's launch in Latin America last year and its bow in the U.K. and Ireland earlier this year. While the population of Scandinavia is small - there are less than 9 million broadband households across Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland - the region has a rich, educated and tech-savvy audience, making it an attractive territory for Netflix. By some estimates, the region is the fourth-largest pay TV market in the world. 

Netflix, however, is entering a crowded market. Local on-demand streaming services, including ViaPlay (owned by Swedish media giant the Modern Times Group) and Vlodder (backed by Nokia), have strong footholds as does LoveFilm.

HBO recently also announced plans to expand its online streaming service HBO Go into Scandinavia, and Acetrax, the pan-European VOD operator whose shareholders include News Corp., has also been eyeing the region.