Nordic Streamer Viaplay Gets Second U.S. Life on Prime Video Channels

Nordic streamer Viaplay is getting a second chance at the U.S. market, beginning April 17, when it will be offered as an add-on subscription to Prime Video Channels for $5.99 monthly with a seven-day free trial.

Viaplay offers Scandinavian TV series, documentaries and movies.

In February, Swedish-based Viaplay closed its app and direct-to-consumer streaming service in the United States and Canada, as the company sought to restructure operations and reduce fiscal losses under new management. The Viaplay subscription channel is also available in North America through Comcast Xfinity, The Roku Channel and Xumo.

Subscribers will have access to “Nordic Noir” crime dramas, including Lars Mikkelsen in Face to Face, an intense interrogative drama; “Fenris,” featuring mysterious disappearances in a wolf-inhabited forest; “Trom,” a mystery set in the picturesque Faroe Islands; “Detective Maria Kallo,” based on the bestselling book series; “DNA,” a Danish police drama co-starring Oscar-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling; and “Black Sands,” a dark, popular Icelandic mystery; as well as all three films from the renowned Millennium “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy.
 
“This will make these titles, among others, more accessible to viewers across the United States, including Viaplay’s Swedish-English drama series, ‘Börje — The Journey of a Legend,’ coming May 2,” Vanda Rapti, group EVP of Viaplay select and content distribution, said in a statement.
 

Swedish Streamer Viaplay Lost 298,000 International Subs in 2023 After Exiting International Markets, Including U.S.

Swedish media giant Viaplay’s ambitious plans to launch Nordic-themed streaming content globally backfired spectacularly in 2023, resulting in a $270.1 million net loss, and 25% in staff cuts, including the departure of CEO Anders Jensen, who was replaced by Jorgen Madsen Lindemann.

The streamer ended last year with 2.39 million international subscribers, down 298,000 subs from 2.69 million at the end of 2022. The company lost 519,000 subs in the Nordics, ending the year with 4.1 million.

The company March 28 reported its “Annual & Sustainability Report” aimed at reassuring investors following developments in the last year, which saw the company sell its U.K. operations, withdraw from the Baltics and North America, and exit Poland by the middle of 2025.

Viaplay’s U.S. SVOD service remains carried by Roku, Comcast, and Xumo.

“Too many of the past investments made by the group did not materialize as planned, as several of the business cases on which they were based proved to be too optimistic,” Simon Duffy, Viaplay interim chairman, said in a statement. “Significant adjustments were therefore required to the group’s strategy, structure and operating model.”

This year, Viaplay is refocusing distribution efforts on the Nordics market, including upping live sports, movie and TV content.

“Our subscription services are available each month for less than it costs to take family or friends out to the movies, or to a live sports event if one could even get a ticket,” CEO Lindemann said in a statement. “The volume of original scripted output on Viaplay has been higher than most other streaming platforms, so we are reducing our output and selling or licensing selected titles.”

Indeed, the platform licenses seasons of “Wallander” to BritBox International and “The Tunnel” to Prime Video, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel and Tubi. It also offered the drama “Thicker Than Water” for rent on Prime Video, Google Play and Fandango.

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Sweden’s Viaplay Shuttering SVOD Platforms in U.S., U.K., Canada; Cutting Personnel 25%

Swedish media company Viaplay (formerly NENT Group) is shutting down expensive forays into the U.S., Canadian and U.K. subscription streaming video markets as it reins in operating costs in the face of a competitive SVOD market and a downbeat advertising outlook. The Stockholm-based company also said it was cutting 25% of its workforce.

“We have had to take a number of immediate decisions for the sake of the future of our business,” wrote CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann in the July 20 shareholder letter. Lindemann was named CEO last month following the abrupt resignation of previous chief executive Anders Jensen, whose vision had been to turn Viaplay into a global media giant on the scale of Netflix, featuring Nordic original content, including series “Ronja the Robber’s Daughter,” among others.

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That dream has apparently turned into a fiscal black hole, with Viaplay losing 1 million subs in its most-recent fiscal period, down to 6.6 million, and experiencing a 16% drop in advertising revenue. Viaplay reported a second-quarter loss of $560 million on revenue of $450 million.

Lindemann said the restructuring includes focusing on “our core Nordic, Netherlands and Viaplay Select operations,” implementing a new operational model; downsizing, partnering or exiting other international markets; rightsizing and right pricing of the product offering in the Nordics; undertaking a major cost reduction program; and conducting an immediate strategic review of the entire business.

“We are moving quickly to address all of these challenges,” Lindemann wrote.

Viaplay Group Announces New Business Operating Model, Changes to Management Team

Viaplay Group, the Swedish-based operator of a branded subscription streaming VOD service in 13 countries, including the United States and Canada, June 28 announced a new Nordic country-based operating model and changes to its executive management team.

This follows the June 5 announcement of changes to Viaplay’s short-term outlook for 2023, and the appointment of Jørgen Madsen Lindemann as the new CEO. The new operating model aims to improve operating efficiency and performance, sharpen the focus on the development of market-relevant product offerings, and accelerate the ongoing review of the company’s operations and return on investment.

The updated operating model will be based around country management teams with full responsibility for the daily operation and strategic development of the businesses, including full line of sight and accountability for sales, costs, profitability, cashflows, content, marketing and operations.

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Lindemann will be interim CEO of the Swedish and Finnish operations while the search is made for a permanent appointment. Lars Bo Jeppesen has been appointed EVP and CEO of the Danish and Icelandic operations, effective Aug. 1. Kenneth Andresen has been appointed interim CEO of the Norwegian operation. Peter Nørrelund, who recently rejoined Viaplay as EVP and chief sports and business development officer, will also take on responsibility for operations in the Netherlands, Poland, Baltics, and the United Kingdom.

The other members of the executive leadership team reporting to Lindemann include: Enrique Patrickson (EVP, CFO and head of strategy and M&A); Philip Wågnert (EVP and chief technology and product officer); My Perrone (EVP and general counsel); Matthew Hooper (returning to his role as EVP and chief corporate affairs officer); Vanda Rapti (EVP, content distribution); and Christian Albeck (EVP, content acquisition).

“This is the first of what will be a number of step changes to ensure that we are investing in the areas where we see the greatest potential, that we are laser focused on the daily business of creating locally relevant products and experiences, and that we are as close as possible to our customers,” Lindemann said in a statement.

It remains to be seen how the changes will impact Viaplay’s recent launch of a $5.99 monthly branded SVOD service in the United States and Canada featuring original Nordic content.

Viaplay reported a net loss of $26.6 million on revenue of $419.5 million in the first quarter ended March 31, which compared to income of $44.6 million on revenue of $307.4 million in the prior-year period.

Viaplay CEO Resigns as International Streaming Video Operator Downgrades 2023 Business Outlook

Viaplay Group on June 5 announced the resignation of CEO Anders Jensen after the company said it would downgrade its business outlook in fiscal 2023.

Viaplay, an international entertainment content provider, including subscription streaming video, based in Sweden, appointed Jorgen Madsen Lindemann as the new CEO, effective immediately.

Anders Jensen

Viaplay operates a branded subscription streaming platform in 13 markets globally, including the United States.

Jensen, who had been CEO since 2018, was instrumental in expanding the media company from  local market pay-TV operator, to direct-to-consumer streaming video provider worldwide.

Viaplay launched SVOD service in the U.S. in February and in Canada in March, offering more than 1,500 hours of European content, including “Nordic Noir” dramas.

In a fiscal filing, Viaplay said its yearly sales growth would decline upwards of 7%, with international business operating losses expected to reach nearly $138 million, up previous estimates around $101 million.

The company cited lower demand in the Nordics and international streaming video markets and lower wholesale subscription sales by linear distribution partners, among other market factors, for the downgraded business outlook.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to be on the team making Viaplay Group into the forward leaning and future focused company that it is today,” Anders said in a statement. “I remain confident of the success that lies ahead for the company. But I also feel that, in the light of current challenges, the company is best served if I step down, and I have therefore decided to do so. I wish the company and the team the very best in the future.”

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Viaplay Streaming Platform Tops 2.9 Million Q1 International Subs, Including U.S.

Sweden’s Viaplay media giant April 25 disclosed it concluded the first quarter (ended March 31) with 2.9 million international subscription streaming VOD subscribers, up 140% from 1.2 million subs in the previous-year period. The company said it remains on schedule to end the year with 4 million international subscribers, on top of 5 million subs in the Nordic region, which includes Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

Viaplay, which added SVOD service U.S. and Canada, and partnerships in Austria and Germany, now offers streaming content in 33 global markets.

“Our Viaplay subscriber base grew by 60% compared with the same period last year,” CEO Anders Jensen wrote in the shareholder letter. “Our investments in content and technology are paying off, and Viaplay continues to be the primary growth driver for the Viaplay Group, accounting for 52% of total sales and generating organic revenue growth of 68% year-over-year.”

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Viaplay Launches on Roku Devices in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Viaplay Group and Roku have agreed to a multiyear partnership that makes the Viaplay subscription streaming service available through Roku devices in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Last December, Viaplay and Roku inked a deal adding the SVOD to The Roku Channel’s premium subscriptions lineup in the U.S. The service bowed domestically in February, priced at $5.99 monthly

Viaplay original series available in North America include the provocative young adult drama “Threesome,” the critically rated biopic “The Dreamer – Becoming Karen Blixen,” starring Connie Nielsen (Gladiator); and the U.S.-Swedish crime series “Cell 8.”

“Roku has outstanding reach and brand recognition among viewers,” Vanda Rapti, Viaplay Group EVP, said in a statement.

Viaplay is available as a direct-to-consumer app in 13 countries and is supported by a wide range of devices and platforms, including major Smart TV brands; iOS and Android smartphones and tablets; Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google TV; PC and Mac; and Roku devices.

“This new partnership brings the best of the Nordics to Roku customers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and Viaplay’s attractive sports offering to our users in the U.K.,” said Mary-Anne Taylor, director international content distribution at Roku.

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Sweden’s Viaplay SVOD Officially Launches Service in the U.S.

Viaplay, the Swedish-based content producer/distributor, Feb. 22 formally launched a branded subscription streaming VOD service in the United States, priced at $5.99 monthly, with a free seven-day trial. Viaplay’s North American direct-to-consumer offering will expand to Canada on March 7.

Formerly known as Nordic Entertainment Group, Viaplay produces original TV series and movies from the Nordic region, the latter known as Nordic Noir, in addition to licensed third-party content. U.S. subscribers will have access to all Nordic content subtitled in English.

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Exclusive series include Danish crime drama “Trom,” starring Ulrich Thomsen (“The Blacklist,” “Banshee”), and Norwegian thriller “Furia” and Swedish drama “Threesome,” co-starring Lucien Laviscount (“Emily in Paris”).

Viaplay’s line-up at launch features more than 50 original programs, including titles such as A Man Called Ove (recently remade with Tom Hanks); Academy Award-winning dark comedy Another Round, starring Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale); psychological thriller Partisan (Best Series winner at Canneseries); documentary Operation Cannabis; seasons one and two of comedy-drama series “Love Me”; seasons one through three of “Pernille”; young adult series “Delete Me”; historical drama “The Emigrants”;  financial drama “Exit,” one of Norway’s most streamed series; as well as all three original movies from the renowned Millennium “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy starring Noomi Rapace.

“As the global leader in original Nordic content, Viaplay offers subscribers an incredible value for their streaming dollars,” Vanda Rapti, chief commercial officer for North America & Viaplay Select, said in a statement.

Viaplay is available to stream via apps on iOS (Apple’s App Store) and Android (Google Play) mobile phones and tablets; Chromecast devices; Smart TVs; Android TV, Google TV, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV streaming devices; as well as on web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari).

The service is also available through Comcast’s Xfinity and Xumo platforms and as part of The Roku Channel’s Premium Subscriptions line-up.

Nordic Viaplay SVOD Service Launching in the U.S. Feb. 22

Sweden-based Viaplay Group will launch its Viaplay-branded subscription streaming VOD service in the United States on Feb. 22 (priced at $5.99 monthly), followed by service launch in Canada ($6.99 monthly) on March 7. The platform will bow with more than 1,500 hours of European content, with at least one premiere bowing weekly.

Viaplay content includes “Nordic Noir” dramas, series, movies and documentaries, many starring major Hollywood names. Viaplay’s North American launches will expand its direct-to-consumers footprint to 13 markets worldwide.

“Nordic Noir” content includes “Trom,” starring Ulrich Thomsen (“The New Pope”; “The Blacklist”), “Furia,” “Partisan” with Fares Fares (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and the young adult drama “Threesome,” co-starring Lucien Laviscount (“Emily in Paris”), among others.

In addition, Viaplay will offer curated third-party films such as A Man Called Ove (recently remade in Hollywood as A Man Called Oscar, starring Tom Hanks), the Oscar-winning dark comedy Another Round with Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) and Sofia Helin (Alex Rider) in historical drama The Emigrants, along with the dark financial series, Exit — one of Norway’s most streamed dramas ever. All content will have English subtitles.

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“We see an appreciative core audience in North America for our stylish international content, and an attractive opportunity to take a specialized position in the world’s most dynamic streaming market,” Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group president and CEO, said in a statement.

In North America, the Viaplay app is supported by a wide range of devices and platforms, including smart-TVs; Android and iOS smartphones and tablets; Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Chromecast; and Mac and PC. The service is also available through Comcast’s Xfinity and Xumo platforms, and as part of The Roku Channel’s premium subscriptions line-up.

Viaplay is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

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.