Nordic Streamer Viaplay Expands U.S. Footprint on The Roku Channel

Scandinavia’s Viaplay Group and Roku Dec. 19 announced a multiyear partnership that makes Viaplay’s 1,500 hours of Nordic content available on The Roku Channel in the United States through subscription. The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people at the end of 2021.

Since premiering its first original show in 2016, Viaplay has emerged as a prolific producer of Nordic content, including psychologically penetrating crime dramas — a style of screen storytelling known as “Nordic noir.” Viaplay content also includes young adult series, historical dramas, and documentaries, among other content.

Viaplay shows available on Viaplay through The Roku Channel include the Danish thriller Trom, starring Ulrich Thomsen (“The New Pope”); Swedish crime series “No Time to Mourn”; and Norway drama Exit, with Tobias Santelmann (Point Break).

“Launching on The Roku Channel offers Viaplay outstanding reach in the world’s largest streaming market,” Vanda Rapti, Viaplay Group chief commercial officer for North America and Viaplay Select, said in a statement. “Premium Nordic content has a dedicated audience in the U.S., and fans can now experience the most stylish and thrilling stories that the region has to offer.”

In addition to The Roku Channel, Viaplay is currently available in the U.S. via Comcast’s Xfinity platforms. Viaplay will make its own direct-to-consumer Viaplay app available in the U.S. with a separate launch in early 2023.

Nordic Streaming Platform Viaplay to Launch in the U.S. in February

Viaplay Group, a Scandinavian-based media company, Nov. 9 reaffirmed plans to launch its branded subscription streaming video service in the U.S. in February and in Canada in March 2023. No further direct-to-consumer markets are expected to be launched next year.

The platform, which currently operates in 11 European countries, is projected to grow subscribers 23% from approximately 7.3 million at the end of 2022 to about 9 million at the end of 2023. Of those subs, 5 million are expected to be in the Nordics, and 4 million subscribers in international markets.

“We are today reaffirming our 2022 and 2025 targets, which demonstrates the significant progress that we have already made, and the considerable potential of the group,” CEO Anders Jensen said in a statement.

Jensen said international expansion is running ahead of plan and the company expects to achieve combined profitability for the international operations in 2024 — one year ahead of schedule.

“We have just launched in the U.K. and will launch in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months. These are three mature markets in which we have tailored content offerings and need relatively small market shares to generate healthy profits,” he said.

Viaplay, which is set to launch in the U.S. priced at $4.99 on Comcast’s Xfinity platforms featuring more than 1,100 Nordic TV series and movies.

That said, Jensen revealed that global economic challenges remain.

“We are implementing a cost savings and investment deferral program in order to offset currency headwinds due to the inflation of our U.S. dollar content acquisition costs, and the impact of the weaker macro-economic environment,” he said. “We remain fully funded for our expansion, are adjusting our operational model and have appointed senior commercial leaders in our markets to ensure we execute on our regional development plans and get even closer to our customers, while ensuring the operational benefits of a platform-based business.”

Viaplay Ups Global Pay-TV/SVOD Subs to 6.4 Million

Norwegian-based pay-TV/subscription streaming video distributor Viaplay Oct. 25 reported it ended the third quarter (Sept. 30) with 6.4 million global subscribers — up about 78% from the previous-year period when it had 3.6 million subs. The streamer, which includes limited operations in the U.S. through NBCUniversal and Comcast, added 879,000 subs in Q3.

The service topped 1 million subs in Poland and Holland. The addition of the English Premier League rights in Poland and the Netherlands contributed to the growth, together with the new distribution agreement in Poland.

Notably, Viaplay saw reduced sub growth in the Nordics, which has become a hotbed for U.S. streamers Netflix and HBO Max. Viaplay upped its year-end target for international subs to 2.7 million from 2.5 million, while reducing the Nordics subscriber forecast from 4.8 million to 4.6 million.

The overall sub target of 7.3 million remains unchanged.

“As a result of the immediate effects of the general economic slowdown on advertising and subscription sales, the lower than anticipated premium subscription sales in Norway, and the strategic decision to discontinue an unfavorable distribution agreement, we are reducing our full year Nordic organic revenue growth target by approximately 10%,” CEO Anders Jensen said in a statement. “Conversely, international sales are expected to exceed our previous expectations, and we now expect full year total group organic revenue growth of approximately 20%.

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Viaplay Expands to 5.5 Million Subs Following Global Expansion

Viaplay Group (formerly NENT Group) July 21 announced that its branded Scandinavian subscription streaming service — Viaplay — has topped more than 5.5 million paying subscribers through June 30 following expansion in select foreign markets, including the U.S. The service added 766,000 subs in the second quarter.

Viaplay, which has long-term distribution deals with Sony Pictures, MGM, NBCUniversal and Paramount Global Content Distribution, among others, launch service in the U.S. on Dec. 15, 2021. It plans to be operational in 16 countries by 2023.

CEO Anders Jensen said the SVOD platform is on target to reach 7.3 million subs by the end of the year. That includes 2.5 million international subs.

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The accelerated 24% year-over-year growth in the Viaplay subscriber base in the Nordics was driven by B2B partnerships and the new agreement with Tele2 in Sweden. Viaplay expects the rate of subscriber and sales growth to accelerate in the second half of the year following acquisition of the Premier League soccer rights in Norway.

Viaplay added 307,000 international subs in tQ2. The platform expects to add the Premier League rights in the Netherlands, Poland and the Baltics next month, and then launch Viaplay in the U.K. The B2B partnerships includes a new agreement with Canal+ in Poland.

“The strong performance of Viaplay in the Nordics was complemented by further growth in the international operations,” Jensen said in a statement.

Paramount Global, Viaplay Ink European Content Licensing Deal

Paramount Global Content Distribution and Viaplay (formerly NENT Group) have agreed to a content licensing deal spanning the Nordic and Baltic regions, Poland and the Netherlands. Viaplay subscribers in multiple markets will be able to access CBS television shows and library titles from The CW, Paramount Television Studios and Showtime.

Under the deal, titles available include shows such as “CSI: Vegas”; medical drama “Good Sam,” starring Sophia Bush and Jason Isaacs; animated comedy “HouseBroken,” with voice talents including Lisa Kudrow; and “4400,” the reimagining of the Emmy-nominated sci-fi series “The 4400.”

“We look forward to bringing a wide selection of CBS Programming and world-class library to Viaplay’s audiences,” Lisa Kramer, president of international television licensing at Paramount Global Content Distribution, said in a statement.

In the Nordic region, the agreement includes library seasons of “Elementary,” “The Good Wife,””Cheers,” “Madam Secretary,” “CSI: NY,” “90210,””King of Queens,” “Catch-22” and “Looking for Alaska.”

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Current and library titles coming to Viaplay in Poland include “Billions,” “Blood & Treasure,” “FBI: Most Wanted,” “The Good Fight,” “Hawaii Five-0,”  “A Million Little Things,” “SEAL Team,” “Survivor” and “Walker,” a reimagining of the long-running series “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

In the Netherlands, the shows available on Viaplay include “Walker,” “The Good Fight,” “Bull,” “Frasier,” “The Good Wife,” “King of Queens,” “Californication,” “Elementary,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Deadwood.”

“Paramount is one of Hollywood’s most renowned storytellers, and Viaplay viewers in 10 countries can now enjoy many of the biggest and best shows from their incredible line-up with us,” added Filippa Wallestam, Viaplay group chief content officer.

Alongside Paramount Global Content Distribution, Viaplay has long-term contractual relationships with U.S. studios, including Sony Pictures, MGM, and NBCUniversal, among others.

Sony Pictures Extends Viaplay Streaming Partnership in the Nordics

Forget Netflix and HBO Max, Sony Pictures Television April 28 announced it has agreed to extend a multiyear deal with Norway’s Viaplay subscription streaming platform. The agreement means Viaplay’s 4 million subscribers will have first access to Sony Pictures Entertainment movies and television series, including catalog titles and new TV series.

In addition to Spider-Man: No Way Home, Viaplay subs will have access to the screen debuts of new Marvel characters Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web and Morbius following their theatrical and home entertainment windows. The deal also includes franchises “Uncharted,” “Venom,” “Jumanji,” “Ghostbusters,” “Peter Rabbit,” “Bad Boys” and “Spider-Man,” as well as some of SPE’s upcoming and future slate.

“This renewal reflects the value that our partnership creates for both companies,” Filippa Wallestam, NENT Group Chief Content Officer, said in a statement.

Upcoming Sony movies include Bullet Train, with Brad Pitt headlining an ensemble cast of eclectic, diverse assassins; Where The Crawdads Sing, which is based upon the novel by Delia Owens; and Miles Morales returns for the next chapter of the Oscar-winning “Spider-Verse” saga, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

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Viaplay will also be the Nordic home of an array of major new series from SPT’s upcoming slate, to be unveiled and presented at Sony’s LA Screenings event in May. The slate includes `Accused’ from Howard Gordon and Alex Ganza (`Homeland’), and the gripping four-part Vicky McLure psychological thriller, ‘Without Sin.’ Among the SPT series already available on Viaplay are hits such as ‘Outlander,’ ‘The Blacklist,’ ‘The Good Doctor,’ ‘S.W.A.T.’ and ‘L.A.’s Finest.’

The agreement also secures new SPE films and series for Viaplay’s V Film pay-TV channels, and a wide selection of new and library films for Viaplay’s Scandinavian TV channels.

“This deal also opens a treasure trove of classics from our phenomenally vast SPE feature film and TV series library for Viaplay’s audience to enjoy,” said Mark Young, EVP of distribution and networks for EMEA at Sony Pictures Television.

In addition, Viaplay and SPE have recently concluded long-term content deals that secure SPE content for Viaplay viewers in the Baltic countries, Poland and the Netherlands.

Viaplay is targeting about 12 million subscribers by the end of 2025, including 6 million in the Nordic region and 6 million internationally, including the United States.

Nordic SVOD Service Viaplay Bows in Holland Streaming Hollywood Movies

Viaplay, the Scandinavian-based subscription streaming service looking to feature Hollywood movies, live sports and local content globally, March 1 announced the launch of operations in Holland.

Operated by Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), Viaplay is also available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The platform launched in the U.S. last December through an agreement with Comcast Cable’s Xfinity platforms. The streamer is slated to bow in the U.K. later this year, followed by Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the end of 2023.

The Dutch launch features an introductory price of 9.99 Euros ($11) per month, which will increase to 13.99 Euros ($15.50) in August, and is available through distribution partners KPN, VodafoneZiggo, T-Mobile Netherlands and DELTA Fiber, and as a direct subscription.

Spearheaded by Netflix, almost 50% of Holland’s 8 million households have a video streaming subscription, with about 1.6 subscriptions per streaming household, according to Ampere Analysis. In 2025, streaming penetration is expected to increase to 66%, with the number of SVOD services per streaming household upped to 1.9.

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Viaplay has distribution agreements with MGM, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and eOne, among others, largely for catalog movies, including the “Men in Black” franchise, “Walker,” “The Capture,” Tomb Raider, Jumanji: The Next Level, Bad Boys for Life and Charlie’s Angels, among others. The platform also features Lionsgate-owned streamer StarzPlay, NBCUniversal’s all-reality streamer hayu and the documentary streaming service Curiosity Stream.

“Viaplay is here to play a positive long-term role, and to help shape the Dutch streaming market and creative scene for many years to come,” Anders Jensen, NENT Group CEO, said in a statement. “There’s so much we want to contribute and achieve in the Netherlands — and today is just the start.”

All Viaplay originals and international content have Dutch subtitles, and all kids content has Dutch dubbing. Viaplay is supported by a wide range of devices and platforms, including smart-TVs, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Chromecast and Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and PC and Mac.

Nordic SVOD Viaplay Launching Dec. 15 in the U.S. on Comcast’s Xfinity Platform

Viaplay, the Nordic-based subscription streaming video service, will bow U.S. operations on Dec. 15 when it is made available on Comcast’s Xfinity platform as a $4.99 monthly add-on. A standalone Viaplay app is not yet available in the United States.

Owned and operated by media giant NENT Group, Viaplay is currently available in nine countries, with plans to add six more in 2023, in addition to the March 1, 2022, bow in Holland, and in the U.K. during the second half of next year.

Viaplay is launching the U.S. with 1,100 hours of content ranging from Nordic TV series and movies. The service will bow at least one premiere weekly, with Viaplay aiming to release at least 60 originals in 2022. A range of documentary series will also be available at launch. All Viaplay content in the U.S. will have English subtitles.

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“Our small corner of Europe produces some of the world’s most compelling stories,” NENT Group CEO Jensen said in a statement, adding that Hollywood stars like Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander have helped put the Nordic region on the map.

“There is a receptive audience of Nordic drama fans waiting in the U.S. for Viaplay’s unique offering,” he said.

Nordic SVOD Platform Viaplay Adding Five Countries — After U.S. Launch

Nordic Entertainment Group has big plans to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. The Scandinavian-based SVOD operator announced it is expanding its streaming service to five countries in 2023, with a goal of topping 12 million subscribers by 2025.

Viaplay, which is currently available in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, previously announced it would launch service later this year in the United States and Holland.

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The platform’s content offering in the five new markets will include Nordic, local and international TV series, movies, documentaries and kids content, both original and acquired, in addition to live sports in select European territories.

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“We have stepped up the pace and scale of Viaplay’s international expansion,” CEO Anders Jensen said in a statement. “We have acquired virtually all of the international sports rights that we targeted, and for multiple cycles in several cases; added one more market to our roll-out ambition; signed innovative partnership agreements; and raised the bar when it comes to our investments in original content.”

Anders Jensen

Jensen contends that despite the presence of Netflix and other streamers throughout Europe, Germany’s SVOD penetration among its 42 million households is expected to grow to more than 50% by 2025, with more than two SVOD subscriptions per SVOD household. He believes 77% of the U.K.’s 28 million households have SVOD subscriptions, and the number of subscriptions per SVOD household is also expected to exceed two in the coming years.

Trends the executive said also include majorities among Canada’s 15 million households, in addition to Switzerland and Austria’s 8 million combined households.

“As a result, we are increasing our subscriber and revenue growth targets, as well as our target profitability levels,” Jensen said. “We are investing in this growth right now, in order to capitalize on the opportunity created as the shift to streaming video consumption continues to accelerate, and demand for high quality and locally relevant stories increases.”

Nordic SVOD Service ‘Viaplay’ Launching in the U.S.; Helping Lionsgate’s Starzplay Bow in the Nordics

The Nordics have long been a testing ground for U.S. streaming video services such as Netflix, HBO Nordics and Disney+. Now, Viaplay, an SVOD platform from Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) is looking to launch in the U.S. in 2021.

Viaplay is seeking to launch in 10 international markets by the end of 2023, including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland next year. By the end of 2025, NENT Group is looking to increase its subscriber base to approximately 10.5 million by more than doubling its Viaplay sub base in the Nordics to approximately 6 million, and growing its international subscriber base to approximately 4.5 million.

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Viaplay will bow late next year in the U.S. as a tailored service offering high-quality Nordic drama series.

“Viaplay is a proven Nordic success story and we are now ready to expand internationally and become the European streaming champion,” Anders Jensen, CEO of NENT Group, said in a statement.

Jensen said NENT has one of the world’s most flexible and scalable technology platforms, with a goal to be the most diverse and inclusive storyteller with an “amazing” range of original, acquired, local and live content.

“We have already signed up key content rights in our target markets, and are in discussions with distributors about new partnerships to ensure that Viaplay is available everywhere,” he said.

Separately, beginning next month, a selection of Starzplay series will be available to Viaplay viewers across the Nordic region, with the full Starzplay service to be offered through Viaplay to all subscribers at a later date. Starzplay is an international subsidiary of Lionsgate.

Starzplay content coming to Viaplay this year includes the second chapter in the “Power” TV franchise, “Power Book II: Ghost,” starring Mary J. Blige; and international series such as the Starz Original series “Power,” “The Spanish Princess,” “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Black Sails,” along with the Golden Globe-winning “Ramy.”

“This partnership with a leader who has demonstrated continued innovation in the industry, creates an exciting opportunity for the expansion of Starzplay into new territories … [and] allows us to continue our quest to offer the best of global SVOD to viewers around the world,” Superna Kalle, EVP of international digital networks for Starz.