Nent will stop paying rights fees to postponed properties

The Nordic Entertainment Group (Nent) has announced further measures to protect itself against the impact of Covid-19, including 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 will also 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’s vast portfolio of rights currently affected by the Covid-19 outbreak includes the English Premier League, Uefa Champions League, France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga, Denmark’s Superliga, NFL, NHL and Formula One.

The media group had already announced this week that it will seek compensation from sports rights-holders if there are “longer-term” postponements or cancellations, as well as announcing a reduction in price of its sports packages for existing customers.

Aside from sports rights costs, Nent is also implementing other measures in order to reduce its ongoing costs by “approximately SEK 700m ($68m/€63m)”. Measures include “reductions in programming and production spend, the deferral or cancellation of any non-core or non-essential development projects, lower sales and marketing spending, and the cancellation of all executive incentive plans for 2020”.

Nent’s agreement with Norwegian telco Telenor Group, to combine the former’s Viasat Consumer satellite pay-television operations with the latter’s Canal Digital service, will not be affected and Nent has said “the EU approval filing will be submitted in the coming days”.

The media group’s launch of its Viaplay OTT service into Iceland this year will also be unaffected.

Nent has said it is financially stable, with SEK 3.3bn of undrawn credit facilities and cash of SEK 1.2bn.