Voddler sets sights on Finland following new investment

Swedish online video service Voddler has completed a private placement share issue injecting an additional 40 million kronor ($5.51 million) in new capital into the company.

Voddler sets sights on Finland following new investment

In addition to private individuals, Finnish telecom group Elisa is also involved in the investment.

At the same time, Elisa and Voddler have signed a cooperation agreement to bring Voddler to the Finnish market. Elisa has the exclusive rights to offer its customers invitations to use Voddler.

Voddler’s management remain confident that the company will reach profitability in Scandinavia by the first half of 2011.

“The money has not run out. Funds remain from past investments,” said Anders Sjöman, communications director at Voddler. “The new funds will above all be for making the technology even more secure and looking towards new markets.”

Voddler has about 720,000 registered users. Of the 2,500 titles that Voddler carries, over 80 percent are free, financed by ads shown before the feature program. So far this year, Voddler users have watched close to 4 million films.

Voddler is available to anyone in Sweden and Norway and currently on an invitation-only basis in Finland and Denmark.

“The goal remains clear and this money will take us a little way towards that goal,” said Sjöman. “However, above all, the funds will go towards the further development of the basic service.”

The company is privately owned and unaffiliated to the film and media industries. Among Voddler’s owners and investors are the founders, employees, management, Equitec Partners and a number of private investors.

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How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic

A front-line Swedish nurse is getting some Covid downtime with a week of private screenings of the Gothenburg film festival, in a former lighthouse off the country's west coast.

How a Swedish film festival is offering a nurse downtime during pandemic
Competition winner Lisa Enroth.

More than 12,000 candidates from 45 countries applied to watch the festival's films in almost near isolation on an island 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Stockholm.

The prize is a week viewing as many of the festival's 70 premieres as they like in a hotel in the former Pater Noster Lighthouse. But they will be in isolation and will have no access to their own computer or laptop.

READ ALSO: Decision on stricter restrictions for foreign travellers to be made quickly

The bright-red lighthouse, built on a tiny island off Sweden's west coast in 1868, is surrounded by a scattering of squat, red buildings originally built to house the lighthouse keeper's family. It can only be reached by boat or helicopter, depending on the weather.

After a series of interviews and tests, festival organisers chose emergency nurse and film buff Lisa Enroth for the prize, in keeping with the 2021 festival's theme, Social Distances.

Before boarding a small speedboat out to the island on the clear, chill winter's morning, Enroth said she had applied not only out of her love for the cinema, but also to seek respite from her hectic work as an emergency nurse during the pandemic.

“It has been hectic, so it's a nice opportunity just to be able to land and to reflect over the year,” she said.

Months working amid Covid crisis

Sweden, which has taken a light-touch approach to the pandemic compared to its neighbours, has been facing a stronger than expected second wave of the virus. So far, more than 11,500 people have died from Covid-19 across the country.

Enroth works in the emergency ward of a hospital in Skovde in central Sweden. Since the start of the pandemic, her hospital's work caring for virus patients on top of their regular workload has been intense.

Lisa Enroth on her way to the remote festival location. Photo: AFP

“We had a lot of Covid cases during this year and every patient that has been admitted to the hospital has been passing through the emergency ward,” she told journalists.

The organisers said they were surprised by the numbers of applicants for the prize but were confident they had chosen the right candidate — not only for her love of cinema.

“She has also dedicated this past year in the frontline against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the festival's creative director Jonas Holmberg said to AFP.

“That's also one of the reasons we chose her”. 

Isolated screenings

Boarding the boat dressed in a thick survival suit, Enroth sped over the calm, icy waters, jumping off in the island's tiny harbour and disappearing into her lodgings.

A screen has been set up in the lantern room at the top of the windswept island's lighthouse, offering a 360-degree view of the sea and coastline around.

Another wide screen has been set up in one of the island's buildings.

Enroth will also have a tablet and headphones if she wants to watch films elsewhere on the island, which measures just 250 metres by 150 metres.

With only one other person staying permanently on the island — a safety precaution — Enroth's only contact with the outside world will be through her video diary about the films she has viewed.

The festival's films will be shown online and two venues in Gothenburg itself will allow screenings for just one person at a time.

Holmberg, the festival's creative director, said he hoped events like these would maintain interest in the industry at a time when many screens are closed because of pandemic restrictions.

“We are longing so much to come back to the cinemas and in the meantime we have to be creative and do the things that we can to create discussion,” he told journalists.