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Nent to launch Viaplay streaming service in Iceland

Nordic Entertainment Group (Nent) is to launch Viaplay in Iceland on April 1, meaning its OTT streaming service will be available in all five Nordic countries.

Viaplay will initially launch in Iceland by offering Viaplay Originals, films and series, and kids’ content, with Nent’s live sports portfolio to be added once the global sporting calendar resumes after its shutdown due to Covid-19.

Nent’s most recent high-profile sports rights acquisition in Iceland was Formula 1. Earlier this month Nent retained exclusive rights to the motor racing championship in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, while also securing the rights in Finland and Iceland. The exclusive pan-Nordic three-season agreement runs from 2022 to 2024.

In addition, Nent holds the exclusive Icelandic media rights to: German Bundesliga football and handball; WTA tennis; Major League Baseball; US stock-car racing series Nascar; football’s Dutch Eredivisie, Danish Superliga and Swedish Allsvenskan; the Concacaf Nations League; and 2021 Copa América. Nent will launch its Viaplay sports package in Iceland when events become available.

Nent last week announced further measures to protect itself against the impact of Covid-19, and took a strong stance on its sports rights contract, saying that it will not be paying any rights fees for postponed properties until they recommence.

Nent has said that it “will not report media rights costs for postponed sports events in its income statement until such time as they take place, that it will not make any new payments for postponed sports rights until they resume”.

The media group warned that it will not be making any additional payments to events that have been postponed, and if they are to be cancelled, it will expect rights-holders to “honour their contractual obligations and reimburse us for the payments already made”.

Nent described Iceland as an “ideal market” for Viaplay due to its status as one of the world’s most connected countries, with 75 per cent of households having access to 1Gbit/s broadband speeds through fibre networks.

There are currently 359,000 mobile broadband subscriptions amongst a population of 360,000 people. The government of Iceland’s goal is for 99 per cent of homes and businesses to have access to at least 100Mbit/s speeds by 2022.