While some Dutch cable-TV subscribers will likely be able to watch high-profile HBO shows such as “Game of Thrones” on other networks, HBO’s own linear channels and its on-demand service, HBO Go, will go dark Jan. 1.
HBO operates HBO Netherlands as a joint venture with Ziggo, the leading Dutch cable TV platform owned by John Malone’s Liberty Global.
An HBO spokesperson confirmed to Variety that HBO Netherlands programming services (HBO1, HBO2, HBO3, HBO On Demand and HBO GO) will cease to be distributed after Dec. 31 and will no longer be available to customers. HBO and Ziggo will announce later this year a different service for the Dutch market featuring HBO programming, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson continued: “After careful consideration, the joint venture partners have determined that discontinuing the service is the best business decision and that we believe our customers will be better served by a different service that will feature HBO content, including full library.”
Ziggo is quoted by media outlets as calling the move a “business decision,” going on to say that it will continue to offer HBO shows – such as “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley” and “The Night Of” – in exclusivity to its cable clients.
HBO’s channels had been available on a clutch of platforms in the Netherlands, including Sparql, an IPTV operator, which announced yesterday to its clients that they would no longer be receiving HBO shows, which Sparql had offered as premium content.
HBO Netherlands launched in 2012, the same year as HBO bowed HBO Nordic, a standalone operation, for Scandinavia. Efforts of HBO Go to face off with Netflix in Scandinavia have been “very disappointing,” said Francois Godard, at Enders Analysis.
In contrast, in Britain, HBO has seen large success as a cornerstone content supplier exclusively on Sky Atlantic, Sky’s high-profile drama service.
“Selling all your programs to someone who has the subscriber relationship and is good at selling may have been seen as a better model,” said Godard.
In the Netherlands, Ziggo, which John Malone merged with Vodafone’s Dutch operations this year, is by a large margin the cable-TV market leader but faces aggressive competition from telco KPN.