Anders Jensen, the chief executive of Viaplay Group, has resigned after the Sweden-based media and entertainment company downgraded its business forecast for this year and warned of a downturn in television and radio advertising markets.

Jorgen Madsen Lindemann (pictured), the former chief executive of Modern Times Group (MTG), the previous parent company of Viaplay Group, has been announced as Jensen’s replacement, effective immediately.

Before becoming chief executive, Lindemann held various senior leadership positions at MTG for over 26 years, including head of Nordic operations and international operations and head of sports rights acquisition and production.

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.”

The leadership change comes after the company announced a downgrade of its short-term outlook for 2023 due to “sharp and rapid deterioration in the television and radio advertising markets.”

It added that “the rising cost of living is resulting in lower [direct-to-consumer] streaming and wholesale linear subscription sales, as well as higher churn levels following price increases.”

Viaplay Group also expects advertising revenue to fall year-on-year by between 12% and 16% on an organic basis.

The company said the downgrade is due to several factors including lower demand in both the Nordic and international streaming markets, as well as lower whole subscriptions sales by distribution partners. Additionally, the accelerated deterioration of the Scandinavian television and advertising markets and the slower delivery of its cost-savings program have affected the business.

The group said 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.

In April, Viaplay Group reported year-on-year growth in subscriber numbers of 60% for the first quarter of the year, putting its global subscriber base at 7.6 million, with 325,000 having been added, continuing the growth in subscribers reported in Q4 2022.

It also saw an operating loss of SEK325 million ($30 million), which it ascribed to its investment in broadcast rights in Poland for the Formula 1 motor racing series, the launch of Viaplay in the US and Canada, the scaling-up of its operations in the UK, and average revenue per user mix in Poland and the Netherlands.

Advertising revenue, which accounted for 19% of group sales, was also down 2% compared to the same period last year.

Pernille Erenbjerg, chair of the Viaplay Group 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 programs 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 endeavors.”

Jensen was appointed president and chief executive of Viaplay Group in April 2018 after serving as executive vice president and chief executive of MTG Nordic Entertainment.

He said: “It has been a privilege and an honor 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.”

After launching in 11 countries, Viaplay Group launched a streaming service in the UK last November.

It also acquired Premier Sports, giving it multiple UK soccer rights including Spain’s top-tier LaLiga and UEFA Nations League matches, as well as UEFA European Football Championship qualifiers and the Scottish Cup. Premier Sports also has rights to rugby union’s United Rugby Championship, NHL, and the US-based Nascar stock car motor racing series, among others.

Those rights were added to the rights it already secured in the UK including North American ice hockey’s NHL and the KSW European mixed martial arts promotion