HBO enters Nordic market with service in Sweden

LOS ANGELES Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:23pm EST

LOS ANGELES Nov 16 (Reuters) - Premium cable channel HBO is now available to pay television subscribers in Sweden, the first market for the network in the Nordic region where companies including Netflix Inc are battling for viewers.

Nordic telecommunications company TeliaSonera AB began offering HBO on Thursday to customers in Sweden, the company said in a statement. The channel that airs hits including "Game of Thrones" and "Boardwalk Empire" will be available to customers in Finland later this year.

TeliaSonera said it also plans to offer HBO in Norway and Denmark, but did not provide a time frame.

HBO Nordic, the joint venture that runs the network's service in Scandinavia, has yet to start its Internet-only offering for people without a pay TV subscription. No start date for that option has been announced.

HBO Nordic had planned to begin service in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in mid-October but later said it faced a delay in the region.

Netflix launched its on-demand video service in the Nordic countries in mid-October. CEO Reed Hastings said the region had become the "global battleground" for television delivered over the Internet, pointing to competition from HBO and satellite TV provider ViaSat.

HBO Nordic is a joint venture between Time Warner Inc -owned HBO and Parsifal International. ViaSat is a unit of Modern Times Group.