Newsletter 30th of September – Video Streaming on High Speed: NENT Ramps Up Expansion & Netflix Ups Content Offering


30 September 2021

Top video streaming actors are stepping up the game. This past week, NENT announced that Viaplay will launch in another five markets while Netflix made a series of announcements on new releases, returning fan-favorites and new acquisitions.

Last week, ahead of its Capital Markets Day, NENT announced that Viaplay will launch in the UK, Canada, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – ramping up expansion plans to 16 markets by the end of 2023. The company thereby upped its subscriber target to 12 million by the end of 2025. At launch, Viaplay’s offering in the five new markets will include Nordic, local and international series, films, documentaries, and kids’ content – both original and acquired. Further, NENT has recently made multiple investments in sports rights – including INDYCAR in nine markets, NHL in Poland and UEFA national team football in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The press release reveals that such investments may continue also in some of the new European territories. With its focus on sports, and the explicit goal to premiere at least 50 Viaplay Originals in 2021, NENT is expanding both geographically and content wise simultaneously – no doubt ambitious and likely very costly.

Whereas Netflix is yet to enter the world of sports (albeit a possible acquisition of Formula 1 rights for the streamer was discussed last week) – the market leader has had a razor-sharp focus on original content ever since 2012. Research from S&P recently show that Netflix’s spend on original had increased to about 40% of the total content budget in 2020 – up from merely 7% back in 2014. By 2025, this share is expected to hit 50%, amounting to a total of more than USD 18.92 billion.

Last Friday, Netflix held the global fan event “Tudum” (named after the distinctive drumbeat at the start of Netflix’s audio-logo). The online event basically busted at the seams with news on both recurring series as well as new premieres – more than 70 series and 28 movies were featured. Among the more noteworthy were the return of both Tiger King (Nov 17th) and Bridgerton (in 2022) for second seasons, the fourth season of Sex Education (with its third season currently being the second most watched series on Netflix in the Nordics) and high-profile film Don’t Look Up starring Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.

Because of delays in production caused by the pandemic, Netflix has released substantially less original content in 2021 than previous years. It’s been a rough year for all productions and the ever-increasing competition on the streaming arena seem to have required an increased content budget for Netflix. In its Q1 report, the market leader announced a content budget of USD 17 billion – a notable increase from the streamer’s 2020 spend of USD 11.8 billion and it’s 2019 content spend of USD 13.9 billion.

Successful Netflix original programming is not limited to US production. For example, Korean series Squid Game is currently the most watched series on Netflix both in the US and in the Nordics. Other top titles include Spanish La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), German Dark and South Korean Kingdom. With the opening of Netflix’s Nordic hub in Stockholm later this year, we may also expect more Nordic original programming going forward.

And there is yet more to come – last week, Netflix acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC) in a deal valued at more than USD 700 million. The acquisition builds on a previous partnership between the two parties for animated TV series. This collaboration will now expand across animated and live action films as well as TV, publishing, immersive experiences, live theatre, consumer products – and games, which has recently earned higher priority at Netflix.

This week, Netflix acquired its first games studio – Night School Studio. Further, Netflix’s new original action movie Kate will be accompanied by PC game Kate: Collateral Damage, debuting on Steam next month. Though it is not the first time a Netflix original series is accompanied with a game, this is the first announcement since the streamer began its own venture into gaming – which puts this news in a new light.

Industry News

Spotify Announces ”De Fria”

The new podcast series ”De Fria” is set to premiere on Spotify early 2022. The series stars several well-known Swedish actors and actresses, including Alexander Abdallah, Hedda Stiernstedt and Felix Sandman. It will be directed by Peter Grönlund.

‘Karma and Jonar’ Next Viaplay Original

The Animated kids’ series ‘Karma and Jonar’ will be Viaplay’s next original, set to premiere exclusively on Viaplay in 2022. This is the first Viaplay Studios production following the reorganization and rebranding of NENT Group’s studio operations.

TikTok Claims to Have 1 billion MAUs

TikTok, launched in 2018, says it has passed a major milestone with more than 1 billion monthly active users. Comparably, Instagram in June 2018 said it reached 1 billion MAUs, eight years after the app launched.

Apple Claimed Less Than 20 million TV+ Subs

According to a showbiz union, Apple claimed its Apple TV+ service had fewer than 20 million subscribers as of July. IATSE told CNBC that in doing so it allowed the company to pay lower crew rates than streamers with more than 20 million subs.

Roku Launches Devices in Germany

US streaming developer Roku will offer its devices in Germany as of this week. The first products will include the Roku Express streaming player and the Roku Streambar soundbar. The devices will be available through electronics stores and online shops.

Disney+ Considering Ad-supported Option

At a recent Q&A session, Disney CEO Bob Chapek mentioned that management has considered the possibility of introducing advertising on Disney+, but that the business model wouldn’t necessarily be the same as for Hulu and that it isn’t a near-term priority.

YouSee Raises Prices for 80% of TV Customers

Danish operator YouSee is set to raise its prices for the vast majority of its TV-customers. In total, approximately one million customers will be affected. Prices will increase between 10 to 40 DKK per month.

Danish Boxer Rebranded as Norlys

As of October 5th, the Danish TV-distributor Boxer will be rebranded as Norlys. Product offering and prices will remain unchanged. Boxer has been a part of Norlys since 2019. Boxer Play will become Norlys Play.

DAZN Rumored to Take Control of BT Sport

According to the Financial Times, sports streaming service DAZN may acquire UK pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport. BT confirmed in April that it was in talks with several parties over a potential sale of its sports network, in order to focus on the telco and 5G arms of its business.

Disney Launches Annual Holiday for Disney+

Disney will host Disney+ Day – an annual celebration where subscribers can access new content, promotions, and experiences. This year, Disney+ Day will be held on November 12 with premieres from e.g. Disney, Pixar and Marvel.

Telmore to Offer Chapter and Paramount+

Danish operator Telmore will introduce Chapter and Paramount+ as add-on service offers for its customers. Chapter, with Danish Gyldendal as its majority owner, will replace the UK owned service Bookmate.

Mediavision in the News

Interest in sports keeps growing in the Nordics

Football is the sport that most Nordic viewers are interested in watching: close to 25% of Nordic 15-74-year-olds express an interest in viewing football via TV/online video, according to Mediavision.

Swedish audiobook streaming revenues growing

The Swedish audiobook market shows signs of strength according to Mediavision analysis. Total revenues for the Swedish audio streaming subscription market grew by SEK 100 million in H1 2021…

Hon leder HBO:s maxade comeback i Sverige

Streamingtjänsten HBO Nordic har tappat marknadsandelar i Sverige de senaste åren. Nu tror Europachefen Christina Sulebakk på en comeback med lanseringen av nya HBO Max.

Björn Ulvaeus bolag köper Perfect Day

Pophouse Entertainment, grundat av Björn Ulvaeus och Conni Jonsson, köper upp poddcastbolaget Perfect Day Media. De ska nu etablera sig på flera nya marknader – trots tidigare tung ekonomisk förlust.

Marie Nilsson: Hur många ljudboksaktörer kan den svenska marknaden svälja?

Ljudboksaktörernas kamp om lyssnarna hårdnar och i dag dansar de stora elefanterna i stort sett kring samma konsumenter. Marie Nilsson analyserar hur hållbar affärsmodellen för ljudböcker är.

Analyse: 9 millioner nordiske hustande abonnerer på digitale medietjenester

75 pct. af hustandene i Norden har abonnement på enten tekst-, lyd- eller videotjenester. Streaming af levende billeder er mest udbredt, men lyd følger tæt med.

Is HBO Max the perfect match for the Nordic audience?

Mediavision concluded that HBO Max and Discovery+ combined would make a significantly stronger customer offering, based on Nordic consumer preferences.

Disney Plus breddar sig för att nå fler: ”I streamingvärlden är det 'vi mot alla'”

Oväntat mycket har hänt sedan Disney Plus tog klivet in på den svenska marknaden för ett år sedan, närmare bestämt den 15 september.

HBO's new streaming service starts in Oct

HBO’S new streaming service, HBO Max, will launch in Europe and Finland on October 26. At the same time, the HBO Nordic service, which has been operating since 2012, will be discontinued.