NENT Streamer Viaplay Seeks U.S. Distribution Partners: “We Are In It For The Long Term,” Says CCO Filippa Wallestam

EXCLUSIVE: NENT streamer Viaplay is seeking to partner with more major U.S. distribution platforms as it beds in “for the long term,” according to EVP and Chief Content Officer Filippa Wallestam.

The Scandi SVoD, which launched in the U.S. last month on Comcast Xfinity at $4.99 per month, is speaking to other partners and hopes to unveil more tie-ups later this year, with plans to go D2C further down the line.

“The U.S. is the biggest streaming market in the world and we are in it for the long term,” said Wallestam, who was speaking exclusively to Deadline before an appearance at the Television Critics Association (TCA) tour.

“We don’t have U.S. subscriber targets but would like to add more distribution partners and strengthen our offering.”

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The move to the U.S. represented the next stage in Viaplay’s expansion and further launches in The Netherlands and the UK are incoming later in 2022.

Wallestam said the decision to open across the Atlantic was “not such a big leap” as the U.S. market is familiar with Nordic content and shows have already been successful, although the “perception of Nordic content is shifting.”

U.S. audiences are understanding that Scandinavian-produced shows aren’t all typical crime shows in the mould of classics like The Bridge and The Killing, she added, and Viaplay has “first mover advantage” to introduce the best Scandi offerings to international audiences.

Wallestam described Viaplay as “like the BritBox of the Nordics” in that it holds the rights to Scandi classics such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo but also has an established originals strategy that is focused on English language content such as Lasse Hallström’s upcoming biopic of Swedish artist and feminist pioneer Hilma af Klint, starring Lily Cole.

Viaplay is targeting 60 originals this year, around one per week, mainly in the drama and docs space, although it is pushing into young adults with a strategy of commissioning shows from younger creatives such as 27-year-old Jonas Risvig’s Boys, revealed exclusively by Deadline in December.

‘Partisan’ And ‘Love Me’

Wallestam is using her TCA appearance to promote Viaplay originals Partisan and Love Me alongside Love Me creator and star Josephine Bornebusch.

The show tells of the friendship, grief and romance of three generations of people living in Stockholm and is being remade by Australian network Foxtel.

Partisan, which set a record for most-viewed Viaplay original on its launch night, is a former Cannes Series winner from Amir Chamdin.

Wallestam described it as a “super unique take on Nordic Noir.”

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