Nordic streaming service Viaplay launches in the US

Streaming service Viaplay is making its U.S. debut today, officially launching its Nordic content-focused SVOD in North America, with a Canadian expansion planned next month.

Viaplay in the U.S. is priced at $5.99 per month following a seven-day free trial and offers thousands of hours of curated content from the Nordic region. The service features series, films and documentaries, focused largely on psychological series from the region in a genre known as Nordic Noir. All film and TV content is subtitled in English. The U.S. debut also comes with exclusive premieres of more than 50 premium series and films. At launch the service will be available to stream via iOS and Android mobile apps, Chromecast devices, apps across smart TVs, Android TV, Google TV, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, as well as through Comcast’s Xfinity and Xumo platforms, and offered as one of the premium subscription options on The Roku Channel.

A few of the Viaplay series available exclusively on the SVOD include Danish crime drama “Trom,” Norwegian thriller “Furia” and Swedish drama “Threesome.” Viaplay’s launch in Canada is slated for March 7.

In the Nordics where Viaplay already competes with streaming giants such as Netflix and Disney+, the SVOD has gained traction, with 7.3 million subscribers across territories including in Nordic and Baltic countries, U.K., Poland and the Netherlands. Of those, 63%, or 4.6 million, are located in the Nordics, while the remaining 27%, or 2.6 million, are located internationally.

Earlier this month Swedish media group Viaplay Group reported an 83% year over year jump in streaming subscribers during the fourth quarter as it expanded across Europe, the U.K. and Australia, as well as growth in its home market.

“Viaplay’s direct-to-consumer streaming service is now widely available in the U.S.,” said Vanda Rapti, Viaplay Group Chief Commercial Officer, North America & Viaplay Select, in a statement. “As the global leader in original Nordic content, we’re excited for U.S. audiences to have access to more new series and films from the Nordic region than ever before, and at just $5.99 with thousands of hours of high quality, exclusive programming, Viaplay offers subscribers an incredible value for their streaming dollars.”

Viaplay has been involved with U.S. streamers in its home region – namely Paramount Global. Paramount partnered with NENT (now Viaplay Group) to launch free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service Pluto TV in the Nordics last May, integrating Viafree – a free AVOD service already offered locally from the media company. With the launch of Pluto TV in the Nordics, Viafree was to be phased out as a standalone service. According to a Viaplay spokesperson, there’s no current involvement with Paramount in North America for the U.S. launch.

Viaplay is offering up a subscription for Nordic content in the U.S. at a time when other streamers such as Netflix are also noting the value of international programming. Speaking at an investor conference in December, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos highlighted how locally-produced content is resonating with audiences around the globe.

“The beauty is, if you can get the art form right, that locally produced content can play big all over the world, so it’s not just America supplying the world content,” Sarandos said at a UBS TMT conference, noting an increased appetite among U.S. audiences for internationally produced or focused content.

“This cadence of international watching, for us it keeps doubling in the U.S. because people really have discovered storytelling from around the world” in a way that shifting a dollar from English-language to a non-English production “that it can have a lot of impact,” he commented.