HBO Max Adds 635,000 Scandinavian Subscribers

HBO has gained more than 635,000 new SVOD subscribers in the Nordics since an October 2021 reboot from HBO Nordic to HBO Max, according to new figures from Mediavision.

The gain puts the WarnerMedia-owned streamer back into the top three, with an estimated 2.2 million households — and an average Nordic household penetration of just below 20%.

HBO has always had a strong streaming presence in Scandinavia. It was the first U.S. SVOD service to challenge Netflix, as well as local players such as Viaplay, and establish a strong market position in the region.

Three months ago, the HBO Nordic brand was changed to HBO Max as part of WarnerMedia’s brand reboot in the Nordic countries and worldwide. 

In 2019, shortly after the last season of “Game of Thrones” premiered, HBO Nordic reached near 2 million households (15-74-years-olds). But between then and the Max reboot, the service lost about 400,000 subs.

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Max corporate parent AT&T this week announced that HBO and Max ended 2021 with 73.8 million combined subs, which exceeded previous year-end estimates of 73 million.

“The launch of HBO Max has had a direct, positive, effect on the total number of Nordic SVOD subscriptions, however, the effect on household penetration is less substantial,” Marie Nilsson, CEO of Mediavision, said in a statement.

Nilsson contends that the majority of the new subs already subscribed to at least one other service. The analyst says Max has pushed “stacking” on the Nordic market. A trend, Nilsson says, is what transpired following the launch of Disney+ in the fall of 2020.

“Our conclusion is that despite a clearly maturing market in terms of SVOD household penetration, we can still expect a continuous growth of subscriptions,” Nilsson said. “The demand for strong content has still not reached its peak in the Nordics.”