Modern Times Group is to merge its Viaplay online pay TV business with the MTGx ‘digital accelerator’ unit it set up last year, to create a more powerful, combined digital entertainment arm.
The new unit will be headed by Rikard Steiber, currently MTG’s execuive VP and chief digital officer.
Niclas Ekdahl, the current CEO of Viaplay, is leaving MTG to pursue new opportunities, the company said.
Describing the move as a “natural next step”, the company said the merger would enable a closer integration of its digital initiatives and boost innovation in new user experiences.
Viaplay, which was launched in 2011, offers a range of on-demand and live content, including movies and sports events, to multiple internet-connected devices including tablets, computers, game consoles and smart TVs, and is available across the Nordic region as well as in Russia and Ukraine.
MTGx was created as an ‘enabling hub’ for new digital activities and recently re-launched MTG’s advertising-funded catch-up TV platforms across eight markets and has invested in activities including Swedish YouTube multichannel network Splay.
Despite the merger, MTG said the two units’ results will be reported as previously for continuity and consistency, with Viaplay included in results for the Nordic pay TV and emerging markets pay TV businesses, and MTGx’s results reported separately.
“Viaplay is our number one digital priority. It has shown tremendous growth as the pioneer in the subscription video on-demand space with an unrivalled content offering of great movies, series, kids’ shows and sports,” said Steiber.
“MTGx is our digital accelerator, so combining the powers of these two businesses will enable MTG to step up our combined digital development and explore new opportunities across all of our free and paid digital platforms.
“We have a fantastic team, unique content offering and a versatile platform on which to expand in both our existing and new markets. The future for us is all about creating engaging experiences that connect our viewers and users with the entertainment they love the most – on all screens, anywhere and at any time.”