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NENT ad sales and subscription revenues drop despite rise in Viaplay numbers

Free TV and subscription streaming provider Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) saw like-for-like sales drop by 13% in Q2 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with both advertising and subscription revenue falling, despite a strong uptick in Viaplay streaming subscribers.

Anders Jensen

The group reported sales of SEK2.624 billion, down 13%.

Streaming service Viaplay saw its base rise 29% year-on-year to 605,000, and the company has raised its intake target for the full year from 400,000 to 600,000.

Despite the strong subscriber growth, Viaplay revenues fell by 4% due primarily to the absence of sports from the platform and consequent price reductions to compensate customers. The group reported that priced had now returned to their normal level following the resumption of sports.

Advertising revenues dropped by 30% in the quarter, which NENT said was expected. The group said that it had seen a “substantial improvement” in July, although it was still “early days”.

NENT’s other subscription revenues fell by 34% following the deconsolidation of Viasat Consumer, which housed its Viasat pay TV platform and has now been merged with the formerly Telenor-owned Canal Digital as Allente. NENT said that the new business, which provided it with a capital gain as well as a share of the new outfit’s net result after restructuring charges, was on track to deliver SEK650 million in cost synergies.

NENT Group reported operating income of SEK2.594 billion for the quarter, up from SEK434 million last year.

“Q2 was an unprecedented quarter in many ways. Not only have we been dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but we have also closed the merger between Viasat Consumer and Canal Digital, launched Viaplay in Iceland, announced the expansion of Viaplay to the Baltics, teamed up with Elisa in Finland, raised our Viaplay subscriber intake target again, delivered on our cost cutting programme, partially refinanced ourselves and launched an updated reporting structure. We will come out of this crisis stronger and even better positioned. The credit for this goes to the fantastic dedication and focus of our teams during these challenging times,” said Anders Jensen, president and CEO.