Sweden's NENT moves streaming registrations, broadcast licences out of UK

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Media company Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) (ST:) is moving its streaming registrations and broadcast licenses to Sweden from the United Kingdom to ensure viewers across Europe have access to its services after Brexit, it said on Wednesday.

According to European Union (EU) law, the country of origin principle allows media companies to offer services across the EU while being regulated in one EU jurisdiction. It will no longer apply in Britain at the end of the Brexit transitional period.

The Swedish firm said its services, currently regulated by Britain’s Ofcom, will be regulated by the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority for the first time ever from Jan. 1.

“The move ensures NENT Group’s services will remain available to viewers after the expected withdrawal of the UK from the European Union,” it said in a statement.

Shares in NENT, whose streaming service Viaplay is its biggest growth driver, have jumped over 100% since mid-March when people in Europe and elsewhere were urged to stay home to help curb the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring viewership.

NENT, which also offers free and pay TV and radio, last month raised its 2020 new subscriber target for Viaplay to over 700,000. Viaplay has over 2.5 million paying subscribers in the Nordic region.

The company had cancelled dividends and scrapped its outlook for profitable growth in 2020 due to the pandemic, but increased streaming is offsetting negative effects from cancelled sporting events and weak advertising markets.

NENT was spun off from E-sports and gaming group MTG (ST:) in 2018.

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