Viaplay CEO resigns amid ‘rapid deterioration’ in TV and radio markets

Viaplay CEO resigns amid ‘rapid deterioration’ in TV and radio markets

Viaplay Group’s CEO Anders Jensen has resigned as the Swedish streaming company downgraded its business forecast for this year and warned of a “rapid deterioration” in TV and radio advertising markets.

Jorgen Madsen Lindemann, the former CEO of MTG (the previous parent company of Viaplay Group) has been announced as Jensen’s replacement, effective immediately.

Viaplay said it expects ad revenue to be down year-on-year by between 12% and 16% on an organic basis for the second quarter of 2023, due to the “sharp and rapid deterioration in the TV and radio advertising markets. The rising cost of living is resulting in lower [direct-to-consumer] streaming and wholesale linear subscription sales, as well as higher churn levels following price increases.”

The company downgraded its short-term outlook for 2023 after experiencing lower demand in both the Nordic and international streaming markets, as well as lower wholesale subscription sales by distribution partners.

Last November the company launched a streaming service in the UK and rebranded Premier Sports, the sports broadcaster it acquired last year. Premier Sports retains the UK broadcast rights for Spanish LaLiga football and UEFA Nations League matches (except England which are broadcast on Channel 4).

Having already been available in 11 countries, Viaplay agreed a multi-year partnership in April with Roku to expand into the US and Canada, too.

Viaplay viewers in the UK will be able to access hit titles such as the crime drama Face to Face with Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards); the acclaimed Danish series White Sands and Seaside Hotel; and The Bridge; as well as live sports such as football from the UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifiers, LaLiga and Scottish Cup, United Rugby Championship and NHL ice hockey.

The Swedish economy is expected to enter recession this year. While the country is experiencing inflation pressures similar to the rest of Europe, Sweden also has acute housing market issues, with rising consumer debt putting a brake on household spending on treats such as pay-television.

Viaplay also admitted that a programme of cost savings was taking longer than expected, as well as suffering from an increase in “foreign-exchange headwinds”.

Prior to becoming CEO of MTG, Lindemann held various senior leadership positions at MTG over 26 years, including head of Nordic operations and international operations, and head of sports rights acquisition and production.

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