Viaplay, Scandinavia’s leading streamer, is set to launch in the U.S. on Dec. 15 under a partnership with Comcast.
A European challenger to global players, Viaplay will bow with more than 1,100 hours of subtitled premium Nordic entertainment, including U.S. premieres of award-winning Viaplay Originals, as well as high-profile third-party acquisitions of films and series from Scandinavia. The service will be initially available on Comcast’s Xfinity platforms as an add-on subscription, priced at $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial.
“The partnership with Comcast is a perfect starting point that allows us to take on this big and competitive market step by step, and there could for sure be additional partnerships further down the road,” Anders Jensen, NENT Group’s president and CEO, told Variety.
Viaplay’s U.S. launch takes the service’s global footprint to 10 countries, with at least six more set to follow by the end of 2023. Viaplay also intends to launch a direct-to-consumer app which will be live in all our 16 markets, including the U.S. in 2023.
The U.S. offer at launch will boast both fresh content and classics, with a focus on thrillers, drama and young adult content. There will be one new title added every week and Viaplay is aiming to produce at least 60 Originals in 2022.
The Viaplay Originals which will be available on the service include thrillers and dramas such as “Partisan” starring Fares Fares (“Chernobyl”), “Wisting,” “Love Me,” which is currently being remade by Warner Bros., and “Pørni.” There will also be young adult shows including “Delete Me,” “Two Sisters,” “A Class Apart” and “Threesome.”
The third-party content that will be showcased on the service include “Charter,” Sweden’s official submission for this year’s Oscar race, “Exit,” “Snow Angels,” “Thin Blue Line,” “Grow,” “A Royal Secret” and “Into the Darkness,” among others. A range of exclusive documentary series will also be available.
“Our small corner of Europe produces some of the world’s most compelling stories,” said Jensen. “We create special shows that have both style and substance that have been embraced by audiences and critics. At the same time, Hollywood stars like Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander have helped put the Nordic region even more firmly on the map,” pointed out Jensen. The executive said there is a “receptive audience of Nordic drama fans waiting in the US for Viaplay’s unique offering.
Although the U.S. boasts the world’s biggest streaming market, Jensen says there is still room for a niche premium service like Viaplay. Out of 130 million households in the US, over 80% currently subscribe to a streaming service, with an average of three subscriptions per streaming household.
“It will continue to grow and we believe a lot of that future growth will come from more targeted and niched offerings. Great content will find its way to an audience as it always has, but with the benefits of streaming and the fast-growing interest in more diverse storytelling there is definitely room for our Nordic storytelling in the U.S.,” said Jensen, who added that Viaplay is targeting 6 million subscribers by 2025 in our 11 new markets outside the Nordics.
Viapay will next launch in the Netherlands on March 1 and in the U.K. during the second half of next year, with Canada, Germany, Austria and Switzerland set to follow by the end of 2023.
Jensen said Viaplay is currently profitable in its five Nordic markets and is “building a future for our company with more countries, more scale and higher profits in scope.”
Content-wise, Viaplay is also bound to expand. “Our starting point in the U.S. is focused on our Viaplay Originals and a fantastic portfolio of third-party Nordic content. But as we say in our marketing; Nordic Noir is just the beginning,” said Jensen.
“We have appetite and plans for more, both as we evolve our own slate of Originals to become more blended with non-Nordic productions and potentially by acquiring third party content. It all boils down to how we can best attract, retain and excite the growing target group for Viaplay in the U.S.,” Jensen added.