HBO brings Norway streaming into the future

Just two weeks after US company Netflix announced plans to expand to the Nordic countries, TV hit maker HBO on Thursday said it was preparing to launch an internet-streaming service in the region later this year.

HBO brings Norway streaming into the future
What's that in the distance? It appears to be Game of Thrones on HBO Nordic (Photo: HBO)

The HBO announcement prompted Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to post the following message on his Facebook page on Thursday:

"Excited to see HBO join us in offering standalone streaming service in Scandinavia…what about the USA? We thought the first match-up would be in Albania."

HBO has long ruled out a stand-alone internet-only plan for US, but this service will soon be available in the Nordic countries.

So far Norwegians have been able to watch some of HBO's hit series, like 'The Wire' and 'True Blood', on national television network NRK and on the cable station Canal Plus.

Soon, however, Norwegian and other Nordic viewers will also be able to access HBO's programming online.

HBO announced on Thursday that it plans to launch a website called which will offer online subscriptions for under €10 per month ($12.50), Variety magazine reports.

The service will also be available as an add-on to basic pay-TV subscriptions in the region, according to the Reuters news agency.

Netflix, which offers online film streaming and DVD rental deliveries, plans to launch its services in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland by the end of this year.

HBO Nordic's streaming subscription offer will launch in the same countries as early as the middle of October.

While it's not yet clear who will win the HBO-Netflix battle, as the two US companies prepare to go head-to-head one thing is certain: Nordic TV and movie fans will be spoilt for choice, with hit shows like 'Game of Thrones' and a slew of popular films soon available on their desktops at the click of a mouse.

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Norwegian reality show introduces sexual consent rule for contestants

The latest series of Paradise Hotel in Norway has introduced an on-screen consent requirement for contestants planning on having sexual contact following allegations of abuse on the Swedish version of the show.

Norwegian reality show introduces sexual consent rule for contestants
The show has introduced on-screen consent requirements. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Contestants in the latest series of Paradise Hotel, which aired on Monday night, will require contestants to demonstrate on-screen with a thumbs up to the camera that they consent to any sexual activity.

“We were told from day one that if we were to have sex, we had to consent with a thumbs up to the camera from both parties,” Stian Trulsen, a contestant on the hit reality series, told newspaper VG

Earlier this year, it was alleged that a male contestant abused two female participants on the Swedish edition of the show. Swedish prosecuting authorities are investigating the alleged abuse. 

Christian Meinseth, program manager for production company Nent which makes the show, said the new rules weren’t directly introduced because of what happened on the Swedish programme. 

“No, but we have, of course, worked with the series and looked at our practices around the format, so we ensure that Paradise Hotel is both a good watch and fun to be a participant in,” Meinseth told VG. 

“We are very concerned about the participants’ safety, and we have not had any challenges around the new rules,” Meinseth added. 

The program manager added that the production company wanted the show to reflect a more modern approach to sex. 

“At the same time, we are also careful to monitor language use and how the participants describe each other. Everyone should show respect for each other, and there will be more focus on the game itself. Viewers can look forward to an exciting and entertaining season,” he said. 

The 15th season of the show, which has been on Norwegian tv screens since 2009, will also include a “paradise talents” week where there is a focus on inner values as part of several on-screen and off-screen measures to try and promote more healthy sexual relationships.