Financially struggling European media heavyweight Viaplay has struck a new distribution deal in Norway with Telia, the telecoms firm.
Through the tie-up, Telia’s customers will continue to receive access to the Viaplay streaming service – which holds rights to a range of top-tier live sporting content – as well as to a range of linear channels. In addition, the English Premier League high-profile soccer league – which Viaplay holds full Norwegian rights to in a tie-up running through 2027-28 – will be covered by the new agreement.
This latter property had reportedly been a stumbling block for neopgitations between the two parties, which according to media went to the eleventh hour before a deal was struck.
If an agreement had not been forthcoming, Telia customers would have lost access to Viaplay’s various channels and services.
Kenneth Andresen, Viaplay’s Norwegian chief executive, has now said: “We are very happy to have landed a new agreement with Telia for a longer period, which means that their customers get access to Viaplay Group's linear channels, streaming service and not least also the Premier League, where we broadcast all 380 matches every season live on Viaplay and our sports channels.”
He added: “Both on the sports and content front, there is an incredible amount of fun ahead, and therefore it is extra gratifying that we have now reached an agreement that ensures Telia's customers the best entertainment and sports on Norwegian screens.”
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Pål Rune Kaalen, chief commercial officer at Telia Norway, added: “Among other things, customers will soon have access to the Premier League where they can follow Erling Braut Haaland and Martin Ødegaard [Norwegian players competing in that competition]. At the same time, we can promise that there will be more exciting news for our customers over time, so we can only be happy.”
Aside from the Premier League, Viaplay holds sporting rights in Norway to properties such as German men’s soccer's Bundesliga and motor racing’s iconic Formula 1 (F1).
The last distribution deal struck between Telia and Viaplay came in December 2022.
Telia has carried content from Viaplay or Modern Times Group, out of which Viaplay (then Nordic Entertainment Group) was spun in 2019, since 2008.
Late last month, it was reported that Telia has entered talks to sell its free-to-air commercial broadcaster TV4 Media, five years after acquiring the business.
Swedish media outlet Affaersvaerlden claimed that Telia is holding talks with several interested buyers, including Nordic media firms Schibsted (Norway), Bonnier (Sweden), and Egmont (Denmark).
Telia acquired TV4 Group from Bonnier in 2019 for SEK10 billion ($906.2 million). However, since then, the broadcaster’s value has fallen dramatically, with Telia citing a downturn in advertising revenues, as well as challenges around premium sports content, as primary factors.
Viaplay, meanwhile, unveiled a distribution deal with TV3 Group, the prominent media company in the Baltic states, earlier this week.
The media group's full live sports portfolio in the region will be sub-licensed to TV3 Group’s streaming service, Go3 through the deal.
The agreement covers Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania and will see direct Viaplay subscribers in the three countries transferred to Go3 during March.