Newsletter 2nd of March
2 March 2022
These are the topics we focus on in this week’s newsletter:
- Media actors impose restrictions following the invasion of Ukraine
- Discovery Plus surpassed 22 million subscribers globally in 2021
- Viaplay and HBO Max set sail for the Netherlands
- Author compensations on digitized book market debated in Sweden
Media actors impose restrictions following the invasion of Ukraine
During the past week, several media actors have responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing various restrictions. These are some examples.
– Stockholm Film Festival rejects Russian movies
– Swedish Breakit donates all revenue from new subscriptions to Unicef – and doubles the amount of money raised
– Telenor cuts Russian TV channel
– Berwaldhallen sacks conductor Valery Gergiev over failure to denounce Putin
– Numerous Nordic telecom actors offer free calls to and from Ukraine
– YouTube will stop running advertisements on channels from Russian state-backed media and certain other accounts, included in sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine
– Meta, parent company of Facebook, will restrict access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on its platforms across the EU
– Netflix will not comply with new Russian rules to carry 20 state-backed channels
– Disney, Sony, and Warner Bros pause theatrical film releases in Russia
– Twitter will mark tweets with links to Russian state-backed media and limit their reach
– TikTok is restricting access to some Russian state-controlled media accounts in the EU
Netflix announces plans to acquire the Finnish Next games
Sports drove 479% MENA subscription surge for Starzplay
TikTok agrees content and branding deal with NHL
LinkedIn debuts podcast network
Disney Plus slates first French original series
Discovery Plus surpassed 22 million subscribers globally in 2021
On Friday last week, Discovery reported its results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2021.
One year post launch, the Discovery Plus streaming service has surpassed 22 million subscribers. That being said, subscriber growth slowed down in the fourth quarter of 2021 (+2 million quarter on quarter) compared to Q3 (+3 million QoQ) and Q2 (+4 million QoQ).
Total revenue in Q4 2021 amounted to USD 3.19 billion, representing a +11% growth year over year – which surpassed analysts’ consensus ahead of the report (USD 3.12 billion). In Q4, US advertising revenues grew +5% while international advertising revenues increased +10%.
During the earnings call, management called out Netflix and Disney as prime competitors, but emphasized that the upcoming combined WarnerMedia-Discovery company would not try to “win the spending war.” Instead, management aims to achieve success by a diversification of their offerings. The new company will not be focused solely on their SVOD business models but will instead take a three “funnel” approach, including a subscription-only service, an ad-lite service, and a free digital service.
In the US, there are several examples of other prominent media actors utilizing this approach, including;
– Paramount (formerly known as ViacomCBS) has long employed this strategy, where its’ free service Pluto TV (bringing in more than USD 1 billion in advertising revenues) serves as a marketing vehicle for Paramount+, which offers both ad-supported and ad-free tiers.
– NBCUniversal has chosen to take a similar approach with Peacock – which has an ad-supported, free, tier as well as two ad-free, paid, tiers that include additional content.
Insight: Nordic TV & Streaming
This analysis covers both the and TV- and streaming markets in the Nordic countries. It rests on three pillars: the consumers, the market, and the actors. Analysing the consumers takes us far – but not all the way. Studying the actors and the market as a whole is just as important.
Discovery+ increases focus on Scandinavian original series
Dolly Parton joins Spotify’s first audio fiction ‘Bookcast’
Danish Altinget to launch five political niche media in Norway
Twitter announces proposed USD 1 billion senior notes offering
Viaplay and HBO Max set sail for the Netherlands
On the 1st of March, Nordic Entertainment Group launched its streaming service Viaplay in the Netherlands. Hence, Viaplay is now available in 11 countries – approaching the target of 16 markets by the end of 2023. Ahead of the launch, NENT announced…
– that the company will partner with Hayu in the Netherlands
– Something Stupid and The Guilty as the first titles on Viaplay’s Dutch scripted slate
– a long-term partnership with Starzplay that will make all new Starzplay Originals available through Viaplay as part of a regular subscription, along with Starzplay’s line-up of films and series from Lionsgate and other major Hollywood studios.
Following, HBO Max will launch in the Netherlands on March 8th. HBO Max is entering with the lowest subscription fee of any streaming service in this market (for people who sign up in March). HBO Max is employing the same campaign at launch as it did in the Nordics – with a 50% reduction of the regular subscription price. The launch in the Netherlands is part of the second wave of European launches in 15 countries, including e.g., Croatia, Poland, and Portugal.
In the Nordics, HBO added 635 000 subscribing households following the Max launch, according to Mediavision analysis.
Author compensations on digitized book market debated in Sweden
In Sweden, there is currently a debate about the audiobook industry and its remuneration levels, as well as about conditions for publishers and authors. Read the posts and responses here:
DEBATT: Dags att belysa ekonomin i ljudboksmarknaden – Per Almgren & Erik Wikberg
DEBATT: Att dra alla tjänster över en kam blir direkt felaktigt – Niclas Sandin
DEBATT: Viktigt att hålla fokus på marknaden som helhet – Per Almgren & Erik Wikberg
Read up on Mediavision’s latest insights on the Swedish audiobook market here; 120 000 additional subscribing households on Swedish audiobook market.
Mediavision’s Insikt: Ljudmarknad gives an in-depth understanding of the entire audio market; audiobooks, music, podcasts and radio. The analysis focuses on the digital transformation of both listening and consumer payments, on both aggregated and actor specific levels.
Mediavision in the News
Netflix faces Nordic challenges – Broadband TV News
Swedish music subscriptions grew 7% in 2021 – High Resolution Audio
Så mycket dyrare har det blivit att strömma film och serier – SVT
Tufft år för svenska ljudboksbranschen – tillväxttakten halverades – Dagens Industri
Could TikTok spur growth of AVOD in the Nordics? – Senal News
Bråket visar varför Spotify behöver Rogan – SVD
Poddarna – makten och pengarna – SR
Därför kom Clubhouse-hysterin för ett år sedan – och därför dog den – SR
Hushållen tecknar fler abonnemang – rekordsiffror för S-SVOD under 2021 – Dagens Media
CTAM Europe Executive Management Programme: 20-25 March 2022, Fontainebleau, France
MIPTV: 4-6 April 2022, Cannes, France
NEM Dubrovnik: 6-9 June 2022, Dubrovnik, Croatia
* Mediavision will attend
** Mediavision will present