NENT quits UK for Sweden, posts strong growth for Viaplay

Anders Jensen

Streaming and free and pay TV provider Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) is to move the registrations for its streaming platforms and the broadcast licences for its TV channels to Sweden from the UK from January 1 to ensure the post-Brexit availability of the outfit’s services in the territories in which it operates.

The move means that NENT’s services will be regulated by the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority, the Myndigheten för press, radio och TV (MPRT), for the first time.

NENT’s new Swedish registrations and licences will cover its Viaplay and Viafree streaming services, V pay TV channels and free TV channels.

NENT Group’s offerings are currently regulated by Ofcom in the UK under the country of origin principle. This principle, which is part of EU law, allows media companies to offer services across the EU whilst being regulated in one EU jurisdiction. The country of origin principle will no longer apply in the UK at the end of the Brexit transitional period.

Anders Jensen, NENT Group President and CEO, said: “We are an innovative, fast-growing, values-driven international company with Nordic DNA and it is natural that we are regulated in a Nordic country. We enjoy a good working relationship with the Swedish authorities and this decision reflects our commitment to the Nordic region and its world-class creative sector. This move will ensure the continued availability of our content to viewers across the region and beyond. We now have a stable long-term regulatory foundation from which we will embark on our ambitious and exciting international expansion.”

Charlotte Ingvar-Nilsson, Director-General, MPRT, said: “We are very pleased to welcome NENT Group to Sweden. NENT Group has a successful track record in attracting Nordic viewers and we are looking forward to working together.”
Viaplay is currently available in five Nordic countries, with the three Baltic states to come from early 2021, and NENT Group aims to add a further 15 countries in the next five years.

The move comes as NENT posted Q3 financials that showed strong growth for its streaming offering. Viaplay paying subscribers were up 97,000 in Q3 and up 31% year-on-year to 2.813 million, which NENT said was due to a combination of high intake, low churn, and contribution from partnerships.

The growth has enabled the group to raise its subscriber target for the year to three million. Viaplay sales were also up 18% and now represent 34% of total group sales.

NENT overall recorded 9% organic sales growth, taking its total to SEK 2.828 billion (€272 million). Last year’s sales of SEK3.383 billion included SEK736m of Viasat Consumer sales, now incorporated in the Allente JV with Telenor. Allente contributed SEK86 million to NENT’s bottom line.

Advertising was down 9%, less than in Q2, and revenues from its studio arm was down 47%.

The company posted a 19% increase in operating income before associated company and IAC when excluding last year’s SEK 117m contribution from Viasat Consumer. Reported operating income before associated company income and items affecting comparability was SEK176 million.

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