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NENT reduces Viaplay sports subs

Viaplay’s sports rights include the UEFA Champions League

Nordic Entertainment (NENT) Group is temporarily reducing the price of sports packages on its Viaplay streaming service after a number of events were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The price for the sport bundles will be reduced to that of the standard Viaplay TV and Movies packages – SEK109 (US$11.25) per month in Sweden, DKK99 (US$14.83) in Denmark, NOK119 (US$11.70) in Norway and €9.99 (US$11.18) in Finland – and will apply exclusively to existing customers. The change is effective immediately.

NENT does not know how long the price reduction will last. In the event of longer postponements or cancellations, NENT will seek compensation from the sports rights owners under the terms of its contracts.

The company had 1.6 million Viaplay customers in 2019, although only a minority were exclusively sports customers. The major sports events or competitions that have been postponed or paused and to which NENT holds the media rights include the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, Superliga, NHL and Bundesliga. This weekend’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix has also been cancelled.

The spread of coronavirus is also hitting advertising demand, which accounted for 26% of NENT’s sales in 2019, and is set to jeopardise NENT’s profit plans for the year. Further updates are expected to be provided in the company’s first-quarter earnings call on April 23, if not before.

Viaplay’s offering of original productions, international films and series and premium kids’ content remains unchanged.

Anders Jensen, NENT’s president and CEO, said: “We are facing an unprecedented situation with widespread postponements of many major sports leagues and events. We understand and respect the decisions made by sports event organisers around the world, who are rightly focused on safeguarding the health and wellbeing of athletes and fans. We are in close contact with the organisers to discuss how things will be handled moving forward.

“Our first priority is always to deliver world-class products to our customers, which is why we have taken the decision to make temporary adjustments to our sports package prices. We are working hard to add short-term alternatives in sports and are also determined to find ways of dealing with the consequences of this global crisis and minimising the impact on our business moving forward.”

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