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Anders Jensen on Viaplay’s U.S. Launch

After making a name for itself in the Nordics, the Viaplay streaming service has been rolling out internationally, with launches in the Baltics, Poland, the Netherlands and the U.K. Its latest entry is North America, having debuted in the U.S. on February 22 and Canada on March 7.

The U.S. was a natural fit for the steamer’s expansion, according to Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group’s president and CEO. “It is the largest streaming market in the world and with a very diverse and entertainment-loving audience,” he tells World Screen Weekly. “This, in combination with a limited incremental cost for both platform and content, makes the U.S. an attractive opportunity for us.”

The U.S. market, though, is not without its challenges, as it’s one of the most crowded and competitive. “We have humble ambitions in terms of market share and aim for a position targeted at an audience who loves international content in general and Nordic content in particular,” Jensen says. “You could say that the large U.S. platforms fighting for market leadership are supermarkets; Viaplay will be a unique boutique off the high street.”

For its entry into the market, Viaplay is available to stream on apps on iOS (Apple’s App Store) and Android (Google Play) mobile phones and tablets; Chromecast devices; smart TVs, Android TV, Google TV, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV streaming devices; as well as on web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari). The service is also available through Comcast’s Xfinity and Xumo platforms and as part of The Roku Channel’s Premium Subscriptions lineup.

As for the types of platform partnerships Viaplay is pursuing for U.S. growth, Jensen says simply, “all types.” He adds, “I am a big believer in partnerships on many levels, and to be able to both monetize on our content investments in different ways and establish the Viaplay brand not just as a proprietary destination will be the best way to create sustainable returns for us.”

The launch slate for the streamer includes premium international series, films and documentaries. Viaplay is a leading producer of series and movies from the Nordic region, be it atmospheric and suspenseful crime dramas, provocative and stylish young adult series or dark comedies. The programming is available in the U.S. subtitled in English.

“It starts as the most focused and extensive collection of Nordic drama, often referred to as Nordic noir, and then gradually develops to be more international and multi-language, including productions in English,” Jensen says of the programming mix. “For us, it is more about the stories and the fit for our target groups that matter, not so much the languages.”

The upcoming lineup features the exclusive U.S. premieres of more than 50 series and films, including the provocative drama Cell 8, set in the U.S. and Sweden; the biopic The Dreamer—Becoming Karen Blixen, starring Connie Nielsen (Gladiator); and the streaming debut of the Hilma af Klint biopic Hilma, directed by Academy Award nominee Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules) and co-starring Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated actress Lena Olin (Hunters, Alias).

As for third-party acquisitions, Jensen says the team is “always on the lookout, but I feel we have a very strong slate to get going with, and I am very excited about getting our boots on the ground in the U.S. and Canada.”

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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