Viaplay’s Jensen quits as streamer hits trouble, replaced by Lindemann


Viaplay Group’s CEO Anders Jensen has resigned from the company, with economic headwinds battering the Nordic operator’s results and causing it to pull its long-term financial guidance.

Jensen, who had been been with Viaplay and predecessor Modern Times Group (MTG) for more than a decade, is being replaced by Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, who becomes CEO following almost 30 years with the company.

‘Accelerated deterioration’

The move came in tandem with a “downgrade” of Viaplay’s short-term outlook for 2023, following what the company termed as “an accelerated deterioration in the operating environment and longer than expected realisation of its cost savings programme.”

Anders Jensen

The Nordic operator, which has been expanding its streaming service into the UK and the US in recent months, has also withdrawn its long term operational and financial guidance, with an update on the medium term to be provided in conjunction with the publication of the group’s Q2 results on 20 July.

Viaplay said subscriber numbers, which are expected to stand at 7.7 million at the end of Q2, were being hit by the effects of the cost of living crisis and increased churn following price increases, while advertising revenues are expected to be down between 12% and 16% on an organic basis in Q2, due to “the sharp and rapid deterioration” in the advertising markets.

The company pointed to three main factors: lower demand in the Nordic and international streaming D2C subscriber markets and lower wholesale subscription sales by linear distribution partners; accelerated deterioration of the Scandinavian TV and radio advertising markets; and the slower delivery of cost savings programmes.

The streamer has been a key commissioner of content across the Nordics over recent years, notably in scripted with shows including Danish crime drama Trom, Norwegian thriller Furia and Swedish drama Threesome.

CEO & new outlook

How the squeeze affects programming remains to be seen but Viaplay said it is withdrawing its 2025 operating and financial targets, with Lindemann taking on a company that now must correct its course.

The exec was previously CEO at MTG and had held various senior leadership positions at the copmany over 26 years, including head of the Nordic operations and international operations, and head of sports rights acquisition and production.

Jorgen Madsen Lindemann

Pernille Erenbjerg, chair of Viaplay’s Board, said: “The outlook for the markets in which we are operating has shifted considerably and at a very rapid pace, and the execution of cost savings programmes has not been mitigating the effects from these conditions to a sufficient extent.

“The impact of the macroeconomic headwinds on the business require that we execute differently on our strategy. With more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and leading Nordic and International businesses, we are confident that Jorgen has the right profile to lead this work. The overall strategic direction of the company is unchanged and Jorgen, together with the Board and his leadership team, will evaluate the need for structural, operational, and capital allocation enhancements to the delivery of the strategy.”

Erenbjerg said Jensen had “led the achievement of significant milestones for the Group, including the development of our unique content offerings.”

Jensen added: “It has been a privilege and an honour to be on the team making Viaplay Group into the forward leaning and future focused company that it is today. I remain confident of the success that lies ahead for the company. But I also feel that, in the light of current challenges, the company is best served if I step down, and I have therefore decided to do so. I wish the company and the team the very best in the future.”

Lindemann said: “I know Viaplay Group well, and have of course followed the company’s journey closely over the years. I am passionate about the Group’s tremendous potential. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to be part of leading Viaplay Group through the currently challenging times, and delivering on the next phase of its development.”

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