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Why Scandi Streamer Viaplay Is Refocusing on “Profitable Local Formats and Hollywood Content”



Scandinavian streamer Viaplay has further “reset” its content strategy, “moving away from large numbers of high-cost original dramas towards more popular and profitable local formats and Hollywood content,” president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann said on Thursday.

“We have therefore sold rights to a number of our original productions to global media players and also sold or closed our production businesses,” he added. “We are also reducing our sports rights commitments, including sublicensing selected rights so that we can focus on the rights that really move the needle for us.”

The strategy echoes the entrenchment seen across the broader entertainment industry, including Hollywood giants’ more selective approach to expensive originals. Last summer, Viaplay had outlined plans to focus on its core markets in the Nordics and the Netherlands, including the end of streaming services launched in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and lay off more than 25 percent of staff. The moves were part of broad-based cost-cutting measures amid various business challenges. The company also considered various strategic options, including a possible sale.

“We made further progress in the fourth to reset the business,” Lindemann said on Thursday. “We agreed the sale of our U.K. operation, are withdrawing from the Baltics and North America, and will exit Poland by the middle of next year.” This will enable the firm “to focus on our core Nordic operations, in markets where we have delivered profitable growth with double-digit margins and strong cash conversion in the past,” he explained. “And that, combined with our scale and soon-to-be profitable business in the Netherlands, is what we are aiming to do again.”

The CEO touted “increased Nordic operating profits” in the latest quarter, but noted that those were “offset by the losses in the international markets, which has been the pattern for the whole year and is why we are exiting all but one of these markets.”

Now the goal is to “transform our core Nordic, Netherlands and Viaplay Select operations,” Lindemann said. “We aim to be free cash flow positive for these businesses in 2025, before gradually increasing profitability levels to double-digit margins.”

To achieve this, “we have reset our content strategy, moving away from large numbers of high-cost original dramas towards more popular and profitable local formats and Hollywood content,” the executive highlighted.

Viaplay has also adjusted its prices to reflect what it calls its “unique entertainment value proposition” for subscribers and business partners. “Viaplay and our TV channels provide fantastic value for money when compared to going to a live sports event, concert, or the movies,” Lindemann said. “We want to grow both our subscriber base and our average revenue per user (ARPU), which requires a very disciplined approach to subscriber acquisition costs, pricing, churn management and the lifetime value of our customers.”

Concluded the Viaplay CEO: “We have ended any expensive and value-destructive hunt for customers and revenue, which was not creating long-term value.”

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