Scandinavian TV Operators Focus on Original Content to Compete Against Netflix

Scandinavia, which includes Norway and Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, has long been a stronghold for over-the-top video distribution. HBO launched its first SVOD service, HBO Nordics, in the region in 2012.

Swedish TV operator Com Hem in 2014 was one of the first cable operators to offer subscribers direct access to Netflix. The SVOD pioneer is now the largest streaming service in the Nordics with more than 5 million subscribers.

As a result, local TV distributors have partnered (Nordics 12) to up local content production in an effort to better compete against Netflix.

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Despite boasting a large catalog of international content and having made investments in local titles such as “Red Dot” (Netflix), foreign SVOD services have largely ignored domestically-produced series. This has led local OTT competitors to develop their own locally produced originals as a differentiating factor, according to new data from Ampere Analytics.

Indeed, Netflix Sweden features just 3% local titles, while Amazon Prime Video offers 1% local fare. Meanwhile, almost half (47%) of the content offered by CMore and 13% of Viaplay’s is locally produced, and the majority of Nordic content currently in production has been commissioned by local players.

Viaplay as the biggest commissioner of new TV shows in the region, followed by public broadcasters SVT, YLE and DR.

Analyst Léa Cunat said local and regional distgributors are ramping up investment in originated content, either individually or as part of partnerships like Nordic 12 to win audiences’ loyalty in both local and international markets.

“Across the globe we’re seeing local TV groups trying to take on the power of the global streaming services by capitalizing on whichever gaps in the market exist,” Cunat said in a statement.