Struggling Viaplay is not ruling out a sale, and Formula 1 can still be seen in the Netherlands at the moment | Displays

to updateThe Swedish streaming service Viaplay is urgently looking for lenders and is not even ruling out a takeover. The company, which is in dire straits, will continue to broadcast Formula 1 in the Netherlands for the time being. What happens if the buyer introduces himself is unknown.

Viaplay announced plans for the reorganization Thursday morning during a presentation of its second-quarter numbers. The company, which employs 1,500 people worldwide, is laying off a quarter of its staff and leaving the Baltic countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Poland. For the time being, the company will remain in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

Despite all the meddling, the streaming service urgently needs to meet with its lenders to survive, and taking over the entire company is a serious option. “All options are open,” said Jürgen Madsen Lindemann, CEO of Viaplay. Last year, Viaplay made a profit of €60m in the first half of the year. And now, in the first half of 2023, it is incurring a loss of more than 560 million euros.

The press meeting demonstrated the seriousness of the problems with the streaming service. The expected subscription growth was not achieved worldwide. Advertising revenue in Scandinavia is also disappointing. The first disturbing reports came out at the beginning of this month. The website reported that Viaplay had canceled four Dutch dramas, including a prestigious project by best-selling author Saskia Norte. There have also been layoffs in Viaplay Holland’s entertainment division. The office in Amsterdam is now closed. Only the sports department in Hilversum is still standing, in miniature form. This is where the Formula 1 specials are broadcast with presenter Amber Brantsen, among others. It is not known exactly how many layoffs occurred in the Netherlands.

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Sports rights

One of the reorganization plans – apart from leaving Viaplay in many countries – is to sell sublicences. To reduce high costs, some sports rights can be shared with other channels. “Viaplay can bring darts back to RTL and English football, the Premier League, to Ziggo Sport. They will be more careful when sharing Formula 1 images. “If they put it in a linear channel, they will also lose many subscribers, which they need so badly sports marketer Chris Wurts replies.

Viaplay has been broadcasting Formula 1 in the Netherlands since 2022. Via parent company Nent, it has acquired the rights from Ziggo Sport. This contract expires at the end of next year. VodafoneZiggo will appropriate the rights to return Formula 1 to Ziggo Sport. Viaplay has increased subscriber costs many times over. It started in 2022 with Tenner, but now the subscription costs 16 euros. Viaplay has 6.6 million subscribers worldwide. Despite all the grim numbers, the company is still hoping for growth this year.

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Amber Webster

 "Freelance zombie fanatic. Devoted web advocate. Analyst. Writer. Coffee fanatic. Travelaholic. Proud food aficionado."

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