Viaplay’s CEO Anders Jensen has resigned amid major turbulence that has forced the group to downgrade its outlook for 2023. His resignation has been accepted and Jorgen Madsen Lindemann appointed the new CEO of Viaplay Group with immediate effect.
In a statement, Viaplay says it expects to end Q2 with sales of between SEK4.5 and 4.6 billion, and EBIT before ACI and IAC of between SEK -250 and -300 million. Advertising revenues are expected to be down between 12% and 16% on an organic basis in Q2, due to the sharp and rapid deterioration in the TV and radio advertising markets. The rising cost of living is resulting in lower D2C streaming and wholesale linear subscription sales, as well as higher churn levels following price increases.
It adds that the downgrade of the short-term outlook for 2023 is a function of several factors. Firstly, the lower demand in the Nordic and international streaming D2C subscriber markets and lower wholesale subscription sales by linear distribution partners. Secondly, the accelerated deterioration of the Scandinavian TV and radio advertising markets. Thirdly, the slower delivery of cost savings programmes. In addition, transactional FX headwinds have increased, and are not expected to recover until the end of the year.
As a result of the challenging and uncertain macro economic environment, as well as the appointment of the new CEO, Viaplay’s board of directors has also decided to withdraw its 2025 operating and financial targets.
Viaplay has expanded rapidly outside of its traditional markets of the Nordic and Baltic regions. It has spent heavily on sports in the Dutch market and entered the UK through the purchase of Premier Sports. It launched in the United States in February with a collection of Nordic Noir.
Lindemann is the former CEO of MTG, which is the previous parent company of Viaplay Group and also listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. Prior to becoming CEO of MTG, he held various senior leadership positions at MTG over 26 years, including head of the Nordic operations and international operations, and head of Sports rights acquisition and production.
Commenting on these developments, Pernille Erenbjerg, Viaplay’s chair of the board, said: “The outlook for the markets in which we are operating has shifted considerably and at a very rapid pace, and the execution of cost savings programmes has not been mitigating the effects from these conditions to a sufficient extent. The impact of the macroeconomic headwinds on the business require that we execute differently on our strategy. With more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and leading Nordic and International businesses, we are confident that Jorgen has the right profile to lead this work. The overall strategic direction of the company is unchanged and Jorgen, together with the board and his leadership team, will evaluate the need for structural, operational, and capital allocation enhancements to the delivery of the strategy”.
“Anders Jensen has been the CEO of Viaplay Group since it was formed as an independent company in 2018 and has led the achievement of significant milestones for the group, including the development of our unique content offerings. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Anders and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours”.
Jensen said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to be on the team making Viaplay Group into the forward leaning and future focused company that it is today. I remain confident of the success that lies ahead for the company. But I also feel that, in the light of current challenges, the company is best served if I step down, and I have therefore decided to do so. I wish the company and the team the very best in the future”.
Lindemann added: “I know Viaplay Group well and have of course followed the company’s journey closely over the years. I am passionate about the group’s tremendous potential. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to be part of leading Viaplay Group through the currently challenging times and delivering on the next phase of its development”.
An update on the medium term outlook is expected to be provided in conjunction with the publication of the group’s Q2 results on July 20.