Viaplay Adjusts Rollout Strategy, Inks Pickbox Deal


While reaffirming its long-term subscriber targets, Viaplay Group is not planning any further direct-to-consumer rollouts for its streaming platform in 2023 beyond a North American launch and has aligned with Pickbox NOW to expand its Viaplay Select branded-content concept in Central and Eastern Europe.

Viaplay expects to end this year with 7.3 million subs and is on target to hit 9 million by the end of next year, with about 5 million in the Nordics and 4 million elsewhere. Viaplay is available on a direct-to-consumer basis in 11 European countries, with a U.S. launch set for February and a Canadian rollout in March. No further direct-to-consumer markets are expected to be launched in 2023.

The deal with Pickbox NOW brings the Viaplay Select curated service to customers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia. With this expansion, Viaplay Select will now be available in 18 markets in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

The company also revealed a new management structure, naming four region-focused  executive VPs and chief commercial officers: Kim Poder in the Nordics; Alexander Bastin for the Baltic, Polish and Dutch operations; Matthew Hooper for the U.K.; and Vanda Rapti for North America and Viaplay Select.

Anders Jensen, Viaplay Group’s president and CEO, commented: “We are today reaffirming our 2022 and 2025 targets, which demonstrates the significant progress that we have already made and the considerable potential of the group. We have come a long way since the launch of our five-year strategy and goals in 2020. After just two years, we are already over halfway toward our 12 million Viaplay subscriber target. Our international expansion is running ahead of plan, and we expect to achieve combined profitability for the international operations in 2024—one year ahead of schedule. We have just launched in the U.K. and will launch in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months. These are three mature markets in which we have tailored content offerings and need relatively small market shares to generate healthy profits.

“The addition of seven new European territories for Viaplay Select shows how we can monetize our content and build our brand in markets where we do not currently plan to offer Viaplay on a direct-to-consumer basis. At the same time, we are implementing a cost-savings and investment deferral program in order to offset currency headwinds due to the inflation of our U.S. dollar content acquisition costs, and the impact of the weaker macro-economic environment. We remain fully funded for our expansion, are adjusting our operational model and have appointed senior commercial leaders in our markets to ensure we execute on our regional development plans and get even closer to our customers, while ensuring the operational benefits of a platform-based business. All in all, the popularity and appeal of Viaplay is growing. We have attractive price points and tailored content offerings that mean we are well positioned to deliver on our strategic objectives and to build a truly sustainable entertainment provider.”