Viaplay Sets Spring Launch in North America, Postpones Further International Roll-Outs, Signs Deal With Pickbox NOW

Viaplay Group, Scandinavia’s leading streaming service, has set the dates for its launch in the U.S. and Canada for February and March, respectively.

During its 2022 Capital Markets Day in Stockholm, Viaplay also unveiled its deal with Pickbox NOW to make Viaplay Select, its curated subscription-based service, available in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. Viaplay Select, which features Viaplay Originals and third-party content, will now be available in 18 markets in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

The company, which is currently available as a direct-to-consumer platform in 11 European countries has also confirmed it will delay its launch in Switzerland, Germany and Austria which was previously slated for 2023. Alluding to the banner’s decision to postpone its launch in further markets besides North America, Anders Jensen (pictured), Viaplay Group president and CEO, said the company was “implementing a cost savings and investment deferral programme in order to offset currency headwinds due to the inflation of our US dollar content acquisition costs.” Jensen also pointed to “the impact of the weaker macro-economic environment.”

While Viaplay Group expects to deliver approximately $111 million-$125 million (SEK 1.2-1.35 billion) of operating income for its Nordic operations in 2023, it forecasts a loss of approximately $92 million-$102 million (SEK 1.0-1.1 billion) for its international operations.

Following its roll out in key international markets, Viaplay will bow dedicated commercial units across four different regions: the Nordics; Poland, the Netherlands and the Baltics; the U.K.; and North America. The team handling North America will also be in charge of Viaplay Selects.

Under the new operating model, Kim Poder has been appointed EVP and chief commercial officer for the group’s Nordic operations; Alexander Bastin has been tapped EVP and chief commercial officer for Viaplay’s Baltic, Polish and Dutch operations; Matthew Hooper has been named EVP and chief commercial officer for the U.K. operations; and Vanda Rapti is EVP and chief commercial officer for North America and Viaplay Select.

Viaplay has traditionally been “Stockholm-focused” and this new operational model underscores the company’s ambition to tap into commercial opportunities in overseas territories, as well as “enable even greater focus on growing its customer bases in each established local market,” said Viaplay.

The group anticipate an organic growth between 24-26% in 2023, as well as a rise in Nordic sales between 12-15%. The number of paying Viaplay subscribers is expected to grow by 23% from approximately 7.3 million at the end of 2022 to approximately 9 million at the end of 2023, of which 5 million subscribers are expected to be in the Nordics, and 4 million subscribers in Viaplay’s 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,” said Jensen.

“We have come a long way since the launch of our five-year strategy and goals in 2020. After just two years, we are already over halfway towards our 12 million Viaplay subscriber target,” Jensen continued.

The executive pointed Viaplay expects to “achieve combined profitability for the international operations in 2024 – one year ahead of schedule.”

Speaking the U.K. and North America, Jensen said “these are three mature markets in which (Viaplay) have tailored content offerings and need relatively small market shares to generate healthy profits.”           

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