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Berenberg bullish on Viaplay launch plans for Baltic and Poland

Nordic Entertainment Group’s (NENT Group) prospects for success in the Baltic states and Poland have received a thumbs up from analysts at Berenberg.

According to the analysts, NENT’s prospects for its forthcoming streaming launch in the Baltics, where it plans to roll out its Viaplay service in Q1 2021, are good. They cited the success of TV3 Group – another former Modern Times Group entity – which has already attracted 130,000 customers from its own launch after six months, as evidence of the attractiveness of the three markets.

Berenberg predicts that Viaplay will attract 79,000 subscribers in the Baltics next year, up from an earlier estimate of 58,000.

“ 2021. We nudge up our forecast for Viaplay subscriptions in the Baltics to 79k (from 58k) in FY 2021. As Viaplay’s content offering will be similar to that of TV3’s Go3, we are confident that our estimates remain conservative, particularly as NENT announced last week that it has secured the exclusive rights to the Champions League and Europa League in the Baltics,” the analysts said.

Berenberg is slightly more cautious about the prospects for the company in Poland, where it will launch next August on the back of acquiring local Bundesliga rights, because data from competitors such as Netflix is based on estimates only.

Nevertheless, said the analysts, “Having secured the key sports right in the Bundesliga, and with local Polish content likely to be invested in, we believe Viaplay can enjoy great success in Poland, but we err on the side of caution until the rollout begins and we have solid data from NENT.”

Berneberg said that it believed that “ NENT’s sports rights portfolio provides Viaplay with a competitive advantage in the domestic Nordic market and for its international expansion”. It pointed out that “NENT has secured sports portfolio dominance in the Nordic and Baltic markets and also that the contract length situation is very much skewed in NENT’s favour, as its rights are long-term and competitors’ rights are not.”

The analysts added that there is “scope for further rights acquisitions if NENT were to target new rights – particularly in Poland, where competitors’ rights mostly expire in 2021 or 2022”.