SVOD outfit Cirkus is expanding with Kritic, a new service programmed with premium non-English-language drama. The first launch will be in Sweden in December and feature big-ticket shows such as “Babylon Berlin” from Germany and “Gomorrah” from Italy.

Cirkus has established itself in the Nordics and German-speaking territories. Kritic will roll out in Sweden before hitting other markets. Another launch is expected in Scandinavia in early 2020. Non-English-language drama is in vogue, and Kritic becomes the third branded service in the Cirkus stable. It joins the original core Cirkus offering and the documentary programmed Curio.

The original Cirkus service, which has the best of British drama, has bolstered its own lineup with some choice acquisitions. These include “Patrick Melrose,” “A Discovery of Witches,” “Vanity Fair” and new seasons of “Line of Duty.” Cirkus, which is carried in seven markets, has the titles across Scandinavia and German-speaking territories.

ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial broadcaster, is a backer of Cirkus, which was launched by industry veterans Hugh Williams and Mark Bradford in 2013. It was set up as a branded service that existing pay-TV operators could integrate with their platforms, offering them a hedge against the U.S. on-demand giants. With the launch of Disney Plus and other U.S.-backed streamers imminent, the traditional pay platforms need to boost their own on-demand offerings more than ever.

Williams and Bradford also told Variety that the Curio factual service, which is available in Finland, Norway, and Sweden, will have a greater focus on environmental issues. Cirkus has bought programs including “Submerged Universe” and “Coming Clean About Green” for Curio. Both execs are headed to Mipcom next week to talk to channel and platform partners.

https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/itv-backed-streamer-cirkus-to-launch-european-drama-service-kritic-exclusive-1203367251/