A new OTT service is coming to Poland at the end of the summer: Nordic Entertainment Group announced the launch of Viaplay in Polish households for September 3rd. The Nordic media company initiated an ambitious international expansion plan to roll out its flagship platform in 10 new markets by the end of 2023. In their last quarterly report, they announced having gathered 27 000 new paying viewers outside of the Nordics, one quarter after launching in the Baltic countries.
The next market Viaplay is targeting is Poland. With 14 million TV households and a 80% pay TV penetration, Poland is a key market in Central and Eastern Europe for telco operators and streaming services. While the number of households receiving TV from cable and satellite access is set to decrease in the upcoming years, operators are turning towards interactive TV to retain subscribers. Meanwhile, the profusion of local and international streaming services leads telco towards aggregation strategies.
The Polish pay TV market is extremely active and strong players are already competing on the OTT segment. The market leader, Polsat, historically focusing on satellite TV, owns the freemium service Ipla and launched a standalone OTT version of its pay DTH service in 2019. Over the last few years, the operator has been drawing near local broadcaster TVN Discovery, which operates Player.pl, to create a joint platform. The local subsidiary of French operator Canal+, which is number 2 on the pay TV market, also launched its standalone OTT pay TV service last year.
Ahead of Viaplay's launch in Poland, NENT signed an agreement with Vectra, which became the third biggest pay TV operator in the country after acquiring Multimedia Polska at the end of 2019. The group operates cable TV and IPTV services and is now focusing on online streaming services after developing an online TV offer for existing customers. Viaplay will thus be available as an add-on subscription to Vectra's 1.7 million TV subscribers after the summer. NENT just reassessed Viaplay's international subscribers target to 500 000 for the end of the year, double of what they first announced, 3 months only after launching outside of the Nordics. This shows the group's confidence in the potential of the Polish OTT market.