NENT Group tries again to sell non-scripted business as it continues reorganisation | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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Attempting to evolve the company to reflect its strategic focus on growth of the Viaplay streaming service and demand for scripted drama, Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) Group is to recommence its previously announced intention to sell its non-scripted, branded entertainment and events businesses.
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The move comes just over two years after coming into being after its parent MTG split in two, and NENT said that its proposed new model was the best structure for a leading streaming player and content producer with multi-market strategy and significant growth ambitions.

In this latest move of almost constant corporate restructuring, NENT confirmed that in addition to trying again to divest its non-scripted, branded entertainment and events businesses, which account for approximately 55% of NENT Studios sales, it was in ongoing discussions with potential partners to invest in the accelerated development of its scripted drama output and operations. Both processes had been temporarily paused due to the impact of the spread of the Coronavirus.

NENT Studios comprises 32 content creation, production and distribution companies in 17 countries and is being reorganised to focus on scripted drama production, series and films, and distribution. The reorganisation is said to reflect the group's strategic focus on the growth of its Viaplay streaming service and the demand for scripted drama. Viaplay is said to have a large and growing customer base of scripted production companies, who also work with other broadcasters, streamers, production companies and distributors around the world. Viaplay premiered 21 original productions in 2019 and expects to premiere approximately 30 original productions in 2020. It has the ambition to premiere 40 original productions per year in the future.

The new and focused scripted production business will comprise NENT Studios' Nordic production companies Brain Academy Nordics, Nice Drama and EPIQ; its Budapest based CEE production company Paprika; NENT Studios' UK operations including London based DRG — which will now be rebranded as NENT Studios UK — and NENT Group's joint venture with FilmNation Entertainment; its US based scripted production company Brain Academy US; and NENT Group's investment in Los Angeles based studio Picturestart. The new organisation will be focused on developing a  slate of new formats and selling existing ones internationally.

NENT Studios'  non-scripted production, branded entertainment and events companies primarily work with external clients and comprise Strix, Baluba, Monster, Novemberfilm, Moskito, Rakett, Strong Productions and Production House; Splay One; Playroom, One Big Happy Family and Grillifilms, respectively.

Confirming that the company’s focus would now be Viaplay (pictured) and the opportunity to produce more original shows that are popular with viewers in the Nordics and around the world, Anders Jensen, NENT Group president and CEO explained that both Viaplay’s subscriber intake and viewing levels, and what it said was clear demand for the scripted drama from emphasised the importance of the reorganisation of NENT Studios.

“Viaplay and others want to invest more in scripted drama, so this is where we are focusing our resources,” he said. “The international expansion of Viaplay will only increase this demand further. We are holding discussions with potential partners regarding investing in our scripted operations so that we can increase our output further. And we have now recommenced the process to sell the other parts of NENT Studios - these are attractive and successful businesses, for which we have already received encouraging levels of interest, but have very limited synergy with our streaming strategy and ambitions.”

NENT Studios UK was launched in September 2019 as part of NENT Group’s NENT Studios content creation, production and distribution business and is focused on the development, funding, production and distribution of both scripted and unscripted content. Richard Halliwell, previously DRG CEO and managing director of NENT Studios UK, has now been appointed as CEO of NENT Studios UK to take over from Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, who left the business in February.

Commenting on the move, Halliwell said: "Bringing DRG fully into NENT Studios UK will create fantastic new opportunities, both for the team and for our current and future partners. I am delighted to be at the helm of this ambitious new local studio, which has the strategic vision, resources, talent and creative verve to deliver a raft of stand-out scripted and unscripted content to the international marketplace."