Newsletter 18th of August: Q2 Recap: SVOD Continues to Grow Despite Pandemic Effects Wearing Of


18 August 2021

After a long, warm, and very sunny summer it is now time to re-start the engines. We expect an eventful fall in the world of streaming media, as we now hopefully can start to see the light after 18 months of covid-19. So, let’s kick-off by recapping some of this summer’s highlights from selected Q2 reports. One general conclusion is that SVOD continues to grow even though there are quite big differences between the players.

Let’s start on our home turf.

Spotify’s Q2 report caused its stock to fall -10% in the after trading. User growth fell short of the company’s guidance although the number of monthly active users grew by 22% YOY to a total of 365 million. However, other financial results outperformed expectations. Overall revenue grew by 23% YOY – driven by strong growth in the ad-supported category and high user retention despite price increases in more mature markets, a testament to Spotify’s strong pricing power.

Following its Q2 report, Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) announced that the company is doubling the 2021 target for international subscribers to 500 000 subscribers. 27 000 international subscribers were added in the second quarter of 2021. Viaplay subscribers increased +22% YOY to a total of 3.3 million. Viaplay revenues now accounts for approximately 35% of NENT’s total sales.

Telia’s Q2 report disclosed a strong development for its TV & Media division – service revenues increased by 45% YOY, explained by a 43% increase in advertising revenues and a 60% increase in TV revenues. Growth in TV revenues was explained by an increased number of TV subscriptions – but note that the prior-year quarter was especially challenging for the company with several cancelled sports events, which partly explains the massive increase.

Moving on to the global actors, Discovery reported a revenue increase YOY +21%, reaching a total of 3.06 bill USD. The increase was heavily related to advertising rebound. Discovery+ reported an increase to 17 million subscribers from 13 million in Q1 2021.

Netflix’s Q2 report disclosed a modest increase of 1.5 million subscribers globally (to a total of 209 million). The streaming giant lost ground (minus 430 000 subscribers in Q2 2021) in the US and Canada, as growth came exclusively from international markets. In July, Netflix also announced a venture into gaming – its first big move beyond TV shows and films.

Disney+ continued to show strong growth in its’ second quarter (ended July 3rd as per the company’s reporting structure). The service has doubled the number of subscribers in one year – from 57.5 million in June 2020 to 116 million in July 2021. 12.4 million of those were added in the last quarter. The Central and Eastern European launch of Disney+ has been pushed forward, from later this year to the summer of 2022. However, the service will launch in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan this November.

Industry News

NENT Announces First Polish Viaplay Originals

Ahead of the Polish launch of Viaplay in the beginning of August, NENT Group has announced its first polish Viaplay original productions. The first three commissions are ‘Polish Murderesses’, ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Freedom of the Swallow’, being developed with local creative talents.

Sony Nears USD 100 MM Deal with Amazon

Sony and Amazon are nearing a deal for over USD 100 MM for the animated feature “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” to stream globally on Amazon Prime Video. The first three films in the “Hotel Transylvania” franchise grossed more than USD 1.3 billion in theatres.

Serie A Turns to YouTube for MENA

The top male football league in Italy, Serie A, will stream selected matches on YouTube in the MENA region. The league has launched a country-by-country MENA broadcast rights tender, but no broadcast deals are yet in place.

HBO Max Pushes Nordic Launch

WarnerMedia has announced that the Nordic launch of HBO Max will be pushed until 2022. Initially, HBO Max was expected to launch in the Nordics during the second half of 2021.

YouTube Pilots ‘Premium Lite’ Subscription

Google is trying out a more affordable premium subscription tier for YouTube. At a price of 6.99 USD per month, users can enjoy ad-free viewing, but misses out on YouTube Premium’s other features like offline downloads or background playback.

Spotify Tests New Low-Cost Subscription Tier

At a cost of 0.99 USD per month, Spotify is testing out a new subscription tier called Spotify Plus, combining elements of its existing free and premium tiers. Spotify Plus still features ads, but users enjoy less restrictions when selecting what to listen to.