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CULTURE

Two streaming services quit production of Danish-language content

Streaming service Viaplay is to stop producing Danish content, following a similar decision by Netflix earlier this year.

viaplay streaming
New Danish fiction productions are to become rarer on streaming services such as Viaplay and Netflix. File photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

Viaplay announced the decision in an open letter to the Producentforeningen and Create Danmark unions, which represent producers and film industry workers such as writers.

The two Danish unions recently reached a rights agreement in January which intended to ensure that filmmakers and screenwriters receive a larger share of the profits if a series or film is distributed widely and is successful. 

Both Netflix and TV2 Play have already ceased production of Danish fiction programmes as a result of the agreement.

“Until we have reached a sustainable agreement, we cannot see any immediate alternative than putting further production of Danish fiction projects on hold,” Viaplay chief content officer Filippa Wallestam wrote in the statement.

“In the long term, we hope we can find a viable way so that we can again produce fiction in Denmark and thereby achieve our ambitious goal of becoming the leading provider of Danish-produced films and series,” Wallestam said.

Viaplay’s chief content officer also said that the rights agreement and a new governmental policy requiring production companies to pay 6 percent of their profits as a “cultural contribution” to support Danish public media could make Denmark “a low priority market in relation to investments in local content.”

The cultural contribution is a recent introduction by the government and specifically requires streaming companies to pay a 6 percent levy on their profits in Denmark.

The agreement between Producentforeningen and Create Danmark runs for two years.

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SAS

Norway ready to reclaim stake in Scandinavian airline SAS

Norway said on Tuesday it was willing to once again become an owner in the struggling Scandinavian airline, co-owned by Sweden and Denmark, four years after pulling out.

Norway ready to reclaim stake in Scandinavian airline SAS

“Given the situation of the company … we can, on certain terms, accept to convert outstanding debt into shares if we consider this necessary,” Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre said in a statement.

Norway sold off its stake in the airline between 2016 and 2018.

But it issued a guarantee of 1.5 billion Norwegian kroner ($154 million) to SAS during the pandemic to ensure the airline’s liquidity when it was hit hard by travel restrictions.

“The Norwegian state will not contribute new capital and will not be a long-term owner of SAS,” Vestre insisted.

SAS is also co-owned by Sweden and Denmark which each hold stakes of 21.8 percent.

The Danish government said on June 10 it was prepared to increase its stake in SAS to up to 30 percent and write off debts of 3.5 billion Danish kroner ($500 million).

The Swedish government has said it would not inject more capital into SAS, but would propose to parliament that SAS be authorised to convert the debt it owes to the state into equity capital.

SAS posted a net loss of 1.5 billion Swedish kronor ($150 million) in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of 2.4 billion kronor a year earlier.

Stressing that the company’s survival was at stake, SAS management in February announced a savings plan dubbed “SAS Forward”. In early June, it announced further plans to raise 9.5 billion Swedish kronor ($968 million) in new capital.

It also aims to convert debt worth around $2 billion into shares SAS said the Norwegian government’s announcement “is appreciated and an important step towards the success of SAS Forward”.

After cutting thousands of jobs due to the pandemic, SAS’ almost 900 pilots are now threatening to go on strike on June 29 over job security and wage issues.

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