Bundesliga, F1 and NHL part of Viaplay’s 2021 Baltic expansion offer

NENT to launch streaming platform in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

by Steven Impey

Bundesliga, F1 and NHL part of Viaplay’s 2021 Baltic expansion offer

Scandinavia’s Nordic Entertainment (NENT) Group is rolling out its Viaplay streaming service in the Baltic region next year, with an initial offer including Formula One, German top-flight soccer’s Bundesliga, and the National Hockey League (NHL).

The over-the-top (OTT) service, which has more than 2.5 million subscribers across Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, will launch in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania during the first quarter of 2021.

“Expanding Viaplay to the Baltic countries is a natural next step,” said NENT chief executive Anders Jensen. “These markets are close to home, relatively under-penetrated, growing fast, and we will have a truly unique content offering that addresses all three markets together.

“We have built Viaplay into the number one Nordic streaming service and have recently expanded successfully to Iceland. We see huge potential in the Baltics for our unique combination of high-quality Viaplay originals, award-winning films and series, premium kids' content and world-class live sports.”

Adding: “Our highly agile operating model and cutting-edge technology are built to scale effectively and efficiently,” Jensen continued. “We have already secured key content rights for the markets at very competitive prices, and look forward to bringing our great value for money storytelling experiences to viewers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania early next year.”

According to NENT, less than 20 per cent of the 2.8 million households in the three countries currently pay for a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming service, compared to more than 50 per cent in the Nordic region.

The platform will not be short of competition however, after TV3 Group, owned by Providence Equity Partners, last year launched a new streaming offer in the Baltic states called Go3. That service has a live sport offering that includes elite European soccer from the Uefa Champions League, the English top-flight Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, and Italy’s Serie A, as well as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and EuroLeague basketball.

Providence Equity acquired the group of TV3 networks in 2017, as part of a deal which saw NENT’s former owner, Modern Times Group, offload its pay-TV and free-to-air (FTA) operations as part of the largest trade in the Baltics at the time.