Telia seals OTT licensing deal with Discovery

Swedish telco Telia has completed a licensing deal with international media group Discovery for standalone over-the-top streaming rights in Sweden and Finland, part of the conditions imposed upon it for the acquisition of TV4, C More and MTV.

The European Commission has approved Telia’s decision to license the OTT rights after approving the acquisition of Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4, Swedish pay-television broadcaster C More and Finnish pay-television broadcaster MTV3 in November.

During the European Commission’s approval process of the acquisition, Telia offered a commitment to license standalone OTT rights to one other market player in each of Sweden and Finland, respectively.

The decision means that Discovery Networks will now distribute TV4 Media’s linear channels in Sweden. These comprise TV4, Sjuan, TV 12, TV4 Fakta, TV4 Guld, TV4 Film, Sportkanalen, C More Hockey, C More Fotboll, C More Golf, C More Sport, C More Live 1-5.

Discovery will also distribute MTV’s linear channels in Finland (MTV3, Sub, AVA, C More Juniori, C More Max, C More Sport 1, C More Sport 2) and Telia’s Liiga channel package for the top division of domestic ice hockey over the open internet, without the need for a traditional television subscription.

Allison Kirkby, president and chief executive of Telia, said: “We have run a process to license our OTT rights with several players, fully in line with the commitments.

“The approval means that we can continue to move forward and realise the advantages for our customers of combining our leading mobile and fixed networks with the most successful commercial media house in the Nordics.”

Telia last week finalised its acquisition of Uefa Champions League rights in both Finland and Sweden, from 2021-22 to 2023-24, as Uefa and its appointed Team Marketing agency wrapped up the club competition rights sales process in the Nordics.

The new deals are for exclusive rights to all Champions League matches, as well as the Uefa Super Cup and all matches from the Uefa Youth League.

In Finland, MTV3 is the incumbent Champions League rights-holder in the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle, whilst in Sweden rights are held in the same cycle by the rival Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group.

The deal was the first major sports acquisition that Telia had agreed since its takeover of TV4 Media (formerly Bonnier Broadcasting) was approved by the European Commission. Telia initially announced the acquisition of TV4 Media in July 2018, but the deal was subject to a EU Competition Authority review.