NBCUniversal to Launch Reality-TV Streaming Service Hayu in Nordics (EXCLUSIVE)

Reality-TV fans in the Nordics will be able to binge on “Real Housewives” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” later this year when NBCUniversal launches its Hayu streaming service across the region.

Hendrik McDermott, SVP of branded on-demand for NBCU, told Variety that the service will roll out in Norway first before hitting Finland, Sweden, and Denmark by year’s end. McDermott is expected to announce the news Thursday at the IBC media technology conference in Amsterdam.

Hayu carries programming on the same day as the U.S., which usually makes dubbing and subtitling a logistical as well as costly challenge. But English is widely spoken in the Nordics, so the content does not need to be re-versioned.

“We launched deliberately in the U.K., Ireland, and Australia because of the affinity for reality TV [and because] they are English-speaking markets and have the streaming infrastructure,” McDermott said. “The Nordics tick all the same boxes. They are not native English [speakers], but the level of English spoken is exceptional, especially among the young demographic we are targeting.”

He added: “We’ve always had a wide list of potential expansion territories. We think this brand has global appeal.”

With good high-speed Internet, the Nordics are well-served by streaming services. Amazon, Netflix and HBO all have standalone SVOD operations alongside local and regional offerings such as Viaplay.

“We’re going after a very clear demographic and niche, and we don’t view this as a replacement service for any of your TV services,” McDermott said. “Obviously the likes of Netflix and HBO are industry peers, but I wouldn’t say we are directly competitive with them in the sense we’re not trying to replace them. We’re very affordable and an incremental service.”

In Norway, NBCU has struck a deal with local SVOD platform TV2 Sumo and will be carried on its platform, as well as via the dedicated apps. It will be priced at NOK49 ($6.22) a month in Norway, SEK49 ($6.10) in Sweden, DKK49 ($7.83) in Denmark, and €4.99 ($5.93) in Finland.

Hayu launched in the U.K. last March and is available over the top, via dedicated apps, and through Amazon’s new channels service. It is also available on the Virgin pay-TV platform and will roll out on Sky’s streaming service, Now TV, next year. In Ireland, a new marketing deal with local telco Eircom will see it bundled with phone services. In Australia, NBCU has a deal with Fetch TV, having previously been on Foxtel.

McDermott said that the different versions of Bravo’s reality franchise “Real Housewives” and E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” are among the most popular programs on the service.

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