In a surprising turn of events that has left consumers somewhat surprised, Viaplay, the Nordic streaming platform that combines Nordic drama shows and sports, has rolled out a price reduction for its annual subscription plan in the UK.
The plan, which requires a 12-month commitment but allows for monthly payments, has recently seen a drop from £11.99/month to a more wallet-friendly £9.99/month.
However, this enticing offer comes with a catch: it’s only available for new subscribers, as Viaplay confirmed to us, leaving existing customers to continue paying the older, higher rate until their initial contract period is up.
But that’s not the only twist in the tale. Viaplay, which holds the rights to LaLiga, Euro 2024 Qualifiers, Scottish Football Cup and more – dropped a bombshell earlier this year, announcing plans to exit the UK market.
This decision has added a layer of complexity to the new pricing, leaving potential subscribers with a dilemma.
With prices generally on the rise in the UK’s streaming landscape, a price reduction is certainly a rare and positive event. But with Viaplay’s uncertain future in the UK, is the reduced subscription cost enough to lure new customers?
Read ahead for our full analysis.
What Is Viaplay?
Viaplay is a streaming service that originated in the Nordics and made its way to the UK in November 2022.
However, its entry into the UK was not a standalone affair – it came through the acquisition of Premier Sports, a well-known UK sports streamer and TV channel operator.
Premier Sports held the rights to some of the major sporting events in the world, such as all European Qualifiers for the UEFA EURO, LaLiga, FIFA World Cup matches, and over 1,000 UEFA international matches.
This merger has made Viaplay a unique platform in the UK, offering a blend of live sports, original Nordic films, and TV shows.
Viaplay’s content is divided into two main packages:
Films & Series Package: This package focuses on Viaplay Originals and curated third-party content.
It offers more than 1,000 hours of drama, including popular genres like Nordic noir, drama, and young adult. Some of the Viaplay Originals available at launch included series like Cell 8, Fenris, Honour, and Those Who Kill.
Viaplay Total Package: This is a more comprehensive package that adds live sports to the mix.
The sports content is a result of Viaplay’s acquisition of Premier Sports, therefore this package holds the rights to major sporting events such as LaLiga, Scottish Cup Football, Euro 2024 Qualifiers and more.
Viaplay’s Old Pricing Structure
Before the recent changes, Viaplay offered three price points in the UK:
- Films & Series Plan: £3.99/month (after a free 7-day trial)
- Viaplay Total: £14.99/month
- Viaplay Total Annual: £11.99/month (with a 12-month commitment, paid monthly)
The new pricing structure has seen a change only in the Viaplay Total Annual plan – which has been reduced to £9.99/month (with the same 12-months commitment).
The Catch For Existing Viaplay Subscribers
While the price reduction may seem like a welcome change, it holds some bad news for existing subscribers.
Those who are already on the £11.99/month annual plan will not see any immediate reduction in their subscription cost, as a Viaplay spokesperson confirmed to Cord Buster.
That’s because existing customers at £11.99 signed up for 12 months at that price – and that will stay the same until their renewal, which at this current time is £9.99.
Of course, for some customers, there’s a risk that by the time their £11.99/month contract is up for renewal – the price for new customers will go back up again…
Viaplay’s Uncertain Future: Is An Annual Subscription Worth It?
In July 2023, Viaplay made a surprising announcement that has left both industry experts and subscribers puzzled: the company announced plans to exit the UK market.
This decision was part of a broader strategic shift to refocus its operations on the Nordics and the Netherlands, particularly for sports content.
The announcement has added a layer of complexity to the recent price reduction, leaving potential new subscribers in a quandary.
According to the company’s earnings report, the decision to leave the UK market is part of a larger strategy to combat financial difficulties.
Viaplay has experienced a significant drop in net income for the first half of 2023, a stark contrast to the positive income reported for the same period in 2022.
This has led the company to reconsider its international expansions and focus on its core markets in the Nordics and the Netherlands.
The exit strategy includes several options: disposal, partnering, or winding down the business. This means Viaplay may end up selling parts of the services – or its streaming rights – to other companies, or shut it down completely.
However, the company has yet to provide specific details on how it plans to manage the transition for its UK customer base, leaving existing subscribers in a state of potential uncertainty.
Implications For Subscribers
For existing subscribers, particularly those who are considering signing up for the 12-months Viaplay Total package to access its extensive sports content, the exit announcement raises several questions:
- Will the service continue until the end of their 12-month subscription?
- What happens to the content rights, especially for sports events?
- Will there be any compensation or refunds for the remaining subscription period if the service shuts down earlier?
As of now, Viaplay confirmed to us that it’s “business as usual,” but the future remains uncertain nonetheless.
The reduced price of £9.99/month for the Viaplay Total Annual plan is undoubtedly tempting, but the service’s uncertain future in the UK makes it a tricky proposition.
Having said all that – a price reduction is not something we see very often in the UK these days, when many streaming services are increasing their prices.
Therefore, for the time being, this is certainly good news – if only for some.
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