Theatrical, Pay TV and SVOD Strongest for Independents
There is a combination of pan-Scandinavian and national distributors working throughout the region. Pan-Scandinavian distributors purchase all rights for all Nordic countries and either distribute in each nation through local offices or sub-license to national distributors. These buyers sub-license theatrical, DVD, and Free TV rights in each individual country to national distributors and license Pay TV rights for all of Scandinavia to multinational Pay TV players. While most deals in the region are all rights deals for all countries, it is also common to close a Pay TV deal for all of Scandinavia when an all rights deal is not possible.
For independent and arthouse films, the theatrical and Pay TV sectors generate the majority of title’s revenue. The local Free TV markets are relatively strong in their respective countries but the majority of programming is local or via output deals with regional distributors (who have output deals with U.S. major studios and large independent companies).
Nordic cinemas are nearly all digitized which has caused exponential growth in screen release counts even for smaller titles. For example, a film that would go out on three to five 35 mm prints 10 years ago in Norway will now open on 30-50 screens. However, the rising number of theatrical releases and increased opening screens numbers mean titles are quickly pulled from exhibition if they are not immediately successful.
Pay TV deals are mostly struck with Viasat and C More, the main regional buyers. Netflix and HBO Nordic buy Scandinavian rights for their SVOD platforms and are emerging as competitors at the Pay TV window. Commercial, action/adventure titles are big sellers to Pay TV while there is little appetite for arthouse titles in this market.
SVOD services account for the majority of VOD revenue with Scandinavia leading the SVOD market in Europe. This is due to locals often utilizing multiple services, along with subscription fees that tend to be higher in the region than other European nations. SVOD market share is: Netflix 46%, Viaplay 22%, HBO Nordic 14%, C More 6%, and all others 12%.
TVOD and EST lag behind SVOD in terms of revenue and projected growth. There is a mix of international, local and regional players within the TVOD and EST sectors. Most Pay TV platforms offer some kind of PPV/TVOD service. Global players such as iTunes and Google have a local presence.
VOD rights in the region are complicated due to the mix of national, regional and global VOD services. SVOD rights are often held by a pan-Scandinavian licensor and not split by country while TVOD and EST rights are usually sold to the local, national distributors.
The theatrical market provides the most revenue for independent titles, however, pan-Scandinavian Pay TV and SVOD deals can also be profitable. Deals dividing rights by nation for Free TV and TVOD/EST often aren’t financially worthwhile.