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Last year the number of streaming subscribers in western Europe eclipsed the number of pay-TV customers for the first time.

As it turns out, The Queen's Gambit and Bridgerton are global phenomena, and American streaming giants have scooped-up the lion's share of European subscribers.

Amidst the U.S. dominance there is one Swedish standout. Stockholm-based Nordic Entertainment Group (“Nent”) is generating more revenue in its home markets than top American rival Netflix. Valhalla awaits.

May the Norse Be With You
In years past, Hollywood would sell its content to be distributed by European rivals. Now, with the stateside streaming market relatively saturated, American streaming giants have made foreign lands a top priority.

The Numbers Tell the Story: Of the 141 million streaming subscribers in western Europe, 86% of them belong to Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+.

Netflix's $17 billion global content budget — eight times what the BBC spends — has allowed it to ramp up local productions such as Elite in Spain or Dark in Germany.

But while they’ve conquered Britain, France, and Germany — America’s streaming giants are facing a Viking resistance in the north. In Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway, Nent’s Viaplay streaming service is within striking distance of Netflix’s 4.2 million subscribers.

  • Nent boasts 3 million subs, making it the only domestic streaming service in all of western Europe to have a second-place audience share in its home market.
  • Nent makes more revenue in Scandinavia than Netflix by offering higher-priced sports packages. Rights to the English Premier League — a ratings Mjölnir (that’s Thor’s hammer) in Europe — don’t hurt.

Come Original: Now Nent is eyeing a launch in the U.S. and 10 other territories as a specialist in Nordic drama (think, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The plan is to raise $415 million to hit 10.5 million subscribers by 2025, with 4.5 million coming outside of the Nordic region.

The Takeaway: CEO Anders Jensen told the FT, “If you don’t copy some of [Netflix] with pride, then you’re making a mistake.”

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