NENT eyes $405m funding to fuel Viaplay expansion in Europe & US

Anders Jensen

Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) is looking to raise SEK3.5bn ($405m) to fund the expansion of its streamer Viaplay into the US and across Europe, in a bid to more than double its current subscriber numbers.

The Nordic SVOD said it planned to launch into Poland and the US by the end of next year, with the Stateside service described as a “tailored service offering high-quality Nordic drama series” to American subscribers.

Viaplay has embarked on a fast-growing originals strategy that stretches to 30 shows this year alone, including First Responders and The Lawyer among numerous others, as it seeks to compete with global rivals such as Netflix,

As part of the expansion plans, the streamer will follow its previously announced launch into Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in March with further European roll-outs, slated to have been completed by 2023. That will take the SVOD’s total footprint to 10 international markets.

NENT said that by the end of 2025, it wanted to increase its subscriber base to approximately 10.5 million, which would involve doubling its Viaplay subscriber base in the Nordics to approximately 6 million, and growing its international subscriber base to approximately 4.5 million.

First Responders

Funding & rights

To fund the expansion, NENT said it is to consult with its shareholders regarding a potential equity raise of more than SEK3.5bn. This would “align the group with its global streaming peers” and “raise the group’s international visibility and profile”, added NENT, which was formed following the split of MTG.

The company, which is in the process of selling its unscripted division and earlier this year rejigged its sales arm, is also considering a potential secondary listing in the US. NENT is to present proposals to investors today.

Anders Jensen, NENT Group president & CEO, said the company had already “signed up key content rights in our target markets” and was in discussions with distributors about “exciting new partnerships” to ensure that Viaplay is available everywhere.

“This expansion requires funding and we will be discussing this with our shareholders. The growth and profitability targets that we are presenting today illustrate the unique and significant potential of our existing Nordic business and future international operations.

“The time is right to seize this major opportunity that we have in front of us, given the continued growth in streaming and ever-increasing demand for high-quality and locally relevant entertainment. We are ready. We have the platform, we have the operational model, we have the content and, most importantly, we have the team.”

The Spanish Princess

Startzplay addition

News of the expansion strategy came as Viaplay confirmed a carriage deal with streaming platform Starzplay, which will see the Nordic company becoming the exclusive regional launch partner for Starzplay.

The deal will start from December and will see “a wide selection” of exclusive Starzplay series becoming available to Viaplay viewers, with the full Starzplay service to be offered through the streaming service at a later date.

Starzplay shows available to Nordic viewers include Power Book II: Ghost, The Spanish Princess, Power, The Girlfriend Experience and Black Sails, along with the Golden Globe-winning Ramy.

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