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Nordic streamer Viaplay considers sale

Tim Baysinger
Jul 20, 2023

Photo: Alan Harvey/SNS Group via Getty Images

Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay is exploring its options, including a sale, as it battles financial problems stemming from its Western expansion.

Why it matters: Viaplay is one of the top media companies in the Nordics, worth more than $3 billion in value, and recently tried to elbow its way into the streaming wars here in the U.S.

Details: During its earnings call Thursday morning, Viaplay outlined a new strategy that included mass layoffs, a shuttering of the just-launched U.S. streaming service and a potential sale.

  • "The content investments that have been made are not all paying off, and are committed in the short and medium term. Furthermore, the pursuit of subscriber volume growth has been at the cost of value," CEO Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, who replaced the ousted Anders Jensen last month, said in a note to shareholders.
  • Viaplay will lay off around 25% of its staff, which accounts for roughly 450 people, Lindemann added.

The big picture: Viaplay had big plans to expand into North America this year, but an overall subscriber and advertising downturn hobbled those plans.

  • It launched in the U.S. in February and Canada a month later.
  • At the end of 2022, Viaplay had more than 7.3 million subscribers, with 37% coming from outside Scandinavia. After growing to more than 7.5 million during the first quarter of this year, subscribers fell to 6.6 million in the second quarter, with 39% coming from outside the region.
  • The move going forward is "focusing on our core Nordic, Netherlands and Viaplay Select operations (which make available a wide range of Viaplay series, films and documentaries through partners around the world)," Lindemann added.
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