Q2 2023 interim report January-June

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363




16% Group sales growth and new strategic plan announced

 

Second quarter highlights

>        16% Group organic sales growth with reported sales of SEK 4,591m (3,725)

>        Viaplay revenues up 42% on organic basis to represent 53% share of total revenues

>        Operating income before associated company income (ACI) and items affecting comparability (IAC) of SEK -273m (132)

>        IAC of SEK -6,279m (0) comprised write-downs and provisions for sports and non-sports content, exit from the Baltics and goodwill impairment, and restructuring costs

>        Total reported operating income of SEK -6,551m (205) including ACI of SEK 2m (73)

>        Net income of SEK -5,886m (175) and EPS of SEK -75.24 (2.25)

>        New strategic plan and targets announced (see page 8)

>        Launching strategic review and addressing funding issues (see page 9)

 

Financial summary

 

Q2

Q2

H1

H1

Full year

(SEKm)

2023

2022

2023

2022

2022

Net sales

4,591

3,725

9,128

7,049

15,691

Organic growth

16.1%

18.4%

22.8%

14.2%

19.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating income before ACI and IAC

-273

132

-564

83

-372

Associated company income (ACI)

2

73

12

128

275

Items affecting comparability (IAC)1)

-6,279

0

-6,323

595

510

Operating income

-6,551

205

-6,875

807

413

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income for the period

-5,886

175

-6,174

659

323

Basic earnings per share (SEK)

-75.24

2.25

-78.93

8.44

4.13

1) Please see page 22 regarding items affecting comparability.

Alternative performance measures used in this report are explained and reconciled on pages 20-24.
 

A word from our President & CEO

We are today announcing a new strategy and plan, which includes, but is not limited to, focusing on our core Nordic, Netherlands and Viaplay Select operations; implementing a new operational model; downsizing, partnering or exiting our other international markets; rightsizing and pricing our product offering in the Nordics; undertaking a major cost reduction programme; and conducting an immediate strategic review of the entire business to consider all options including content sublicensing, asset disposals, equity injections or the sale of the whole Group. The content investments that have been made are not all paying off, and are committed in the short and medium term. Furthermore, the pursuit of subscriber volume growth has been at the cost of value, especially when it comes to our partner agreements. The weakness in the advertising markets and currency exchange rates are additional factors that we must live with. The international expansion assumptions, including the timelines to profitability, have also been pushed materially into the future since the expansion started. We are moving quickly to address all of these challenges.

 

Going forward, our focus will be on the Nordic markets with the new operating model in place, on the right content mix, on the development of our soon to be profitable Dutch operations, and on the sale of our content internationally through Viaplay Select. We are focusing our attention and resources on those markets where we can compete for the long term, and ensuring that our products are relevant, popular and generate healthy returns.

 

We have had to take a number of immediate decisions for the sake of the future of our business. This regrettably means letting go of more than 25% of our people. Due to the material change in the international business plans, and the fact that not all of the content investments that we have made are paying off, we have SEK 6.3bn of items affecting comparability included in this report, which include a minor part of the redundancy programme costs, as well as writing down the value of content where we are not seeing sufficient return on investment, and exiting the Baltic markets. We are also discontinuing our low tier non-sports offering in each of our international markets, in order to focus on our sports offering and the sale of non-sports content through our profitable Viaplay Select business.

 

The future payment commitments for our content, when combined with the revenue trajectory that we see, means that we will need to reach agreement with our lenders on how best to navigate the period ahead. We are addressing covenant and funding challenges through discussions with lenders while exploring capital raising alternatives.

 

The Q2 results were in line with guidance on revenues and EBIT. We delivered 16% organic revenue growth and Viaplay was the primary driver with 42% revenue growth. Viaplay subscriber volumes were substantially lower than at the end of Q1, and than previously guided for, as we decided not to prolong or launch additional B2B partner campaigns that would not drive revenue and profitability. We now expect the Viaplay subscriber base to grow to 7.0 to 7.2 million by the

end of the year, with ARPU rising given the price adjustments that we have introduced.

 

Our Nordic revenues grew by 8% on an organic basis, with Viaplay representing 43% of Nordic sales and delivering 26% growth. Our Nordic Viaplay subscriber base was up slightly YoY but down QoQ due to the phasing out of ARPU dilutive partner campaigns, as well as seasonally higher churn in the sports packages. Prices have been raised YoY in each market. Our linear channel and other subscription revenues were up 9%, with sublicensing being the main driver. The advertising markets have further deteriorated and our combined TV, radio and AVOD sales were down 16%. The advertising outlook remains weak for the rest of the year. Sales for our international operations were up 115% on an organic basis as the Viaplay subscriber base grew by 69%, and prices have been raised in each market. The growth also reflected the Select deals that we have done. The subscriber base was down QoQ as we phased out ARPU dilutive partner campaigns, with the Polish base growing and Dutch base declining.

 

Group operating profits before ACI and IAC were in line with the guidance, with a 5.4% Nordic operating margin and higher QoQ losses for the international operations due to the content investments that we have made, the consolidation of the UK operation, and the launches in North America.

 

Looking forward into the second half of the year, we will continue to feel the pressure of the macro environment and rising content costs, due to higher original content costs, built-in sports rights inflation, and adverse currency effects. We now expect full year Group operating losses before ACI and IAC to be approximately SEK 850-1,050 million for 2023, which include approximately SEK 600 million of lower cost of sales following the provisions and write-downs that we have made. Our 2024 guidance is based on our continuing business being the Nordics, Netherlands and Viaplay Select, which will mean that SG&A costs will be borne by a smaller organisation. We expect to deliver between a loss of SEK 150 million and a profit of SEK 150 million in 2024, which includes approximately SEK 700 million of lower cost of sales. Margins are then expected to gradually rise in the following years towards the long-term objective of double digit EBIT margins. It is clear that we have much to do and much to gain, which is exactly what we are focused on!

 

Jørgen Madsen Lindemann

President & CEO
 

Shareholder information 

Financial calendar 2023

Publication of Q3 interim report 24 October 2023

 

Conference call with Group President and CEO

A conference call will take place today at 09.00 Stockholm local time,                   

08.00 London local time and 03.00 New York local time.

 

The call can be accessed through browser: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/bq2r3xcf

  

Or, register for the conference call at

https://register.vevent.com/register/BI6b1c13b36d8a4e3f80a7b41352bc3c6b

 

Click here for the full report 

  

Contact

press@viaplaygroup.com (or: +46 73 699 1700)
investors@viaplaygroup.com (or +44 7768 440 414)

  
 

Notes to editors

Viaplay Group AB (publ) is the international entertainment provider. Our Viaplay streaming service is available direct-to-consumer in every Nordic and Baltic country, Poland, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Canada. Every day, millions of customers enjoy our unique entertainment offering, including acclaimed Viaplay Series, Films and more, and an unrivalled line-up of premium live sports. In addition, our innovative Viaplay Select branded content concept makes Viaplay’s compelling storytelling available to partners around the world. From streaming to TV channels, radio stations and production companies, our purpose is to tell stories, touch lives and expand worlds. Viaplay Group is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (‘VPLAY B’)

 

This information is information that Viaplay Group AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Swedish Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 07:30 CET on 20 July 2023.

 

This interim report contains statements concerning, among other things, Viaplay Group’s financial condition and results of operations that are forward-looking in nature. Such statements are not historical facts but, rather, represent Viaplay Group’s future expectations. Viaplay Group believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions; however, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of important factors could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. Such important factors include but may not be limited to Viaplay Group’s market position; growth in the streaming industry; and the effects of competition and other economic, business, competitive and/or regulatory factors affecting the business of Viaplay Group, its group companies and the streaming industry in general. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date they were made and, other than as required by applicable law, Viaplay Group undertakes no obligation to update any of them in the light of new information or future events.
 




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