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Sweden's NENT reports rise in streaming subscribers

By Reuters

By Supantha Mukherjee

STOCKHOLM -NENT, the Swedish company challenging streaming giants such as Netflix in the Nordics, reported a rise in subscribers and quarterly operating income as it expands beyond Scandinavia.

Its Viaplay streaming service added 140,000 subscribers in the quarter, including 27,000 in countries outside the Nordics where it started offering its services in March.

Total subscribers rose 21% to 3.29 million.

NENT raised its full-year international Viaplay subscriber target to 500,000 from more than 250,000, and expects to add at least 400,000 paying subscribers in the Nordics.

Viaplay offers movies, series and sports through its streaming service, which is available in the Nordic countries along with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

“Our mix of content, especially the fact that we are producing locally relevant content, and combine that with sports puts us in a different position compared to, for example, Netflix,” CEO Anders Jensen said in an interview.

It plans to launch in Poland next month, the United States later this year and eight other international markets by the end of 2023 with a target of 10.5 million subscribers by 2025.

Viaplay will launch around Christmas in the United States, where the company is considering working with channel partners such as Amazon and Roku, alongside its own app, Anders said.

Producing original shows and movies proved critical for the success of Netflix and Hulu, and NENT is following the same path.

It has been creating own dark, psychological crime shows such as “Wisting” and “Darkness: Those who kill,” and plans to premiere at least 50 originals this year.

NENT also plans to produce two major English-language films every year and its first project will be “Hilma,” a biopic of the revolutionary Swedish artist Hilma af Klint.

Adjusted operating income rose to 244 million Swedish crowns ($28.08 million) from 156 million a year earlier.

Sales rose 31% to 3.07 billion crowns, but fell short of the mean 3.11 billion expected by analysts, Refinitiv Eikon estimates showed.

($1 = 8.6902 Swedish crowns)