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Distressed Viaplay does not rule out the sale, Formula 1 can still be seen in the Netherlands for the time being | show

updateSwedish streaming service Viaplay is urgently looking for lenders and isn’t even ruling out an acquisition. The company, which is in dire straits, will continue to broadcast Formula 1 in the Netherlands for the time being. It is unknown what happens if a buyer shows up.

Viaplay announced the reorganization plans on Thursday morning during the presentation of the second quarter figures. The company, which employs 1,500 people worldwide, lays off a quarter of its workforce and leaves the Baltics, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Poland. For now, the company will remain in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands.

Despite all the interventions, the streaming service urgently needs to meet with lenders to stay afloat, and taking over the entire company is a serious option. “All options are open,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, CEO of Viaplay. Last year, Viaplay made a profit of 60 million euros in the first half of the year. Now, in the first half of 2023, it registers a loss of more than 560 million euros.

The press meeting made it clear just how serious the problems at the streaming service are. The expected subscription growth worldwide did not materialize. Advertising revenue in Scandinavia is also disappointing. The first worrying reports came out earlier this month. This site reported that Viaplay had canceled four Dutch drama series, including a prestigious project by bestselling author Saskia Noort. There were also layoffs in the entertainment branch at Viaplay Netherlands. The office in Amsterdam is now closed. Only the sports department in Hilversum is still standing, in a reduced form. This is where the broadcasts about Formula 1 are made with, among others, the presenter Amber Brantsen. Exactly how many redundancies have occurred in the Netherlands is unknown.

sports rights

One of the reorganization plans – apart from the departure of Viaplay in several countries – is the sale of sublicenses. To reduce high costs, certain sports rights could be shared with other channels. “Viaplay could bring darts back to RTL and English football, the Premier League, to Ziggo Sport. They will be more careful about sharing Formula 1 footage. If they put them on a linear channel, they will also lose a lot of subscribers, which they need so much,” replies sports marketing specialist Chris Woerts.

Viaplay has broadcast Formula 1 in the Netherlands since 2022. Through parent company Nent, it took over the rights to Ziggo Sport. This contract expires at the end of next year. VodafoneZiggo would take advantage of the rights to return Formula 1 to Ziggo Sport. Viaplay increased the costs for subscribers several times. It started in 2022 with ten, but a subscription now costs 16 euros. Viaplay has 6.6 million subscribers around the world. Despite all the grim numbers, the company still expects to grow this year.

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