Swedish over-the-top (OTT) streaming service Viaplay, which holds several high-profile sports rights globally, has announced it is shutting down its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business in the US and Canada amid a company-wide drive to scale down operations.
The platform will shut down in Canada on February 28 and in the US on February 29, with Viaplay content to be disseminated through the company’s partners in each country, streaming services.
Viaplay’s subscription service, focused on Nordic-language film and TV, will continue to be available in the U.S. as a subscription video-on-demand channel through their partnerships with Xfinity X1, Flex, Roku, and Xumo; and a broad selection of its content in Canada via Crave’s Viaplay Select offering.
Viaplay had only begun operations in the US and Canada in February and March 2023 respectively, but the service has been hit by severe financial difficulties throughout 2023.
In July, the company announced that it was laying off 25% of its total workforce, around 450 people, as part of a set of restructuring moves slated to cost around $4 million.
These fiscal constraints have also led to Viaplay refocusing on the Nordic market, a decision that has led to it divesting from several key markets globally, including the US and Canada.
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Viaplay holds several sports rights, including for high-profile soccer competitions such as Spain’s top-tier LaLiga competition, but in November announced it was divesting from one of its biggest markets, the UK, early in 2024.
Viaplay has sold its UK business, and its accompanying suite of rights, back to UK-based network Premier Sports, which had operated in the country up until its purchase by Viaplay in 2022.
At the time, Viaplay chief executive Jørgen Madsen Lindemann stated that the moves were driven by a need to concentrate on markets where the service had long-term viability.
He added that other aspects of the new Viaplay strategy include “rightsizing and pricing our product offering in the Nordics,” undertaking a significant cost reduction effort, and conducting “an immediate strategic review of the entire business.”