Viaplay subscribers up 60% YoY in 1Q 2023

Tuesday, April 25th, 2023 
Viaplay Group logo

Q1 2023 interim report January-March

  • Viaplay subscribers up 60% and Group sales up 30%

First quarter highlights

  • Viaplay paying subscribers up 60% YoY to 7,643k (4,783) with 325k subscribers added QoQ
  • Viaplay revenues up 68% on organic basis to represent 52% share of total revenues
  • 30% group organic sales growth with reported sales of SEK 4,537m (3,324)
  • Operating income before associated company income (ACI) and items affecting comparability (IAC) of SEK -291m (-49), of which SEK 163m (256) for the Nordics and SEK -454m (-305) for the International markets
  • Total reported operating income of SEK -325m (602), including ACI of SEK 10m (55) and IAC of SEK -44m (595)
  • Net income of SEK -288m (483) and EPS of SEK -3.68 (6.20)

Financial summary

                                        Q1     Q1    year
(SEKm)                                2023   2022    2022
                                     -----  -----  ------
Net sales                            4,537  3,324  15,691
Organic growth                       30.3%   9.9%   19.7%
Operating income before ACI and IAC   -291    -49    -372
Associated company income (ACI)         10     55     275
Items affecting comparability (IAC)    -44    595     510
Operating income                      -325    602     413
Net income for the period             -288    483     323
Basic earnings per share (SEK)       -3.68   6.20    4.13

President & CEO’s comments:

We have continued to deliver on our growth targets despite the broader economic uncertainty and increased market volatility. Our Viaplay subscriber base grew by 60% YoY to 7.64 million, and Group sales were up 30% YoY on an organic basis. The recent direct-to-consumer launches of Viaplay in the US and Canada, and our new Viaplay Select partnerships in Canada, Austria, and Germany, have taken our footprint to 33 markets, further reinforcing our position as a leading international entertainment provider and exporter of premium international storytelling. Our original content has never been more attractive for consumers and partners, with over 130 productions set to premiere this year in what is a highly competitive environment. In combination with our mix of premium live sports rights, constant tech innovation and talented team, we are well positioned to deliver on Viaplay’s considerable potential, and to reach our short- and long-term goals. Our guidance for the full year remains un-changed, reflecting our ambition to strike the right balance between maintaining the strong momentum in the business and managing the continued uncertainty in the market.

We have started the year in line with our guidance, with 30% Group and 17% Nordic YoY organic sales growth in the first quarter. Our investments in content and technology are paying off, and Viaplay continues to be the primary growth driver for the Group, accounting for 52% of Group sales and generating organic revenue growth of 68% YoY.

Our Viaplay subscriber base grew by 60% compared with the same period last year. Our combined international markets now have more than 2.9 million Viaplay subscribers, 140% more than a year ago. We are growing in line with our expectations to reach the target of 4 million subscribers by end of the year. We also added 113k Viaplay subscribers in the Nordics in Q1, which is line with our ambition to add 400k new subscribers in 2023 and reach our year-end target of 5 million subscribers.

We have adjusted our Viaplay price points upwards in almost all markets, to reflect our unique and enhanced content offerings, as well as the prevailing inflation levels. Churn levels remain fairly stable and demonstrate the importance of high quality and flexible entertainment packages in these economically challenging times. Locally relevant content and live sports coverage remain our key differentiation points, and we have seen the positive impact of our coverage of the new Formula 1 season in 10 of our European markets, including Poland for the first time.

Viaplay Nordic revenues (37% of Group revenues) were up 36% YoY on an organic basis, while international revenues were up sevenfold and accounted for 15% of Group revenues, compared with 3% in Q1 last year.

Our linear subscription and other revenues (29% of Group sales) grew 11% YoY on an organic basis. The growth in wholesale subscription revenues reflected price increases, while sublicensing and studio sales were also moderately up YoY.

Advertising revenues (19% of Group sales) were down 2% YoY on an organic basis, which was better than expected in weak markets. TV advertising prices were again raised in the annual upfront contract negotiations, and radio advertising sales have continued to be resilient. We expect the overall Scandinavian advertising market to remain soft for the rest of the year, with the outlook for H2 currently particularly uncertain. TV and radio remain high impact media, which offer high returns on investment for advertisers, and our audience shares were up in almost all markets in Q1.

Our Nordic operating profit margin of 4.2% was higher than expected and reflected the healthy subscriber growth, rising prices and lower than anticipated advertising sales decline. The YoY effect of the content investments that we made in H2 last year will result in a low H1 margin, as expected, before rising ARPU levels and lower cost inflation drive up our profitability margin for H2. We remain focused on delivering our target full year operating profit of SEK 1.2-1.35 Bn for our Nordic operations.

The combined operating losses for our international business reflected our investment in the Polish Formula 1 rights, the launch of Viaplay in the US and Canada, the scaling-up of our UK operations and the Polish and Dutch ARPU mix. These losses are expected to progressively fall during the year as the subscriber base continues to grow and ARPU levels rise. This is expected to result in the lower YoY losses for the full year of SEK 1.0-1.1 Bn, before we reach a combined full year profit for our international business in 2024.

Sustainability is as always at the top of our agenda. We have a very clear strategy, and we are making good progress towards our goals. This progress was reflected in Sustainalytics’ recognition of our leading sustainability performance for the second year running, and their ranking of us in 8th position out of 294 global media businesses.

As a company and most importantly, as a team, we are more focused and united than ever. Our new organisational set-up is fully implemented and enabling us to achieve our goals together more efficiently, despite the ongoing impact of the global geo-political and macro-economic pressures.

Anders Jensen
President & CEO

Links: Viaplay Group