Storytel reports Q1 earnings while Disney assumes full control of Hulu, & more

15 May 2019

Yesterday Disney assumed full operational control of Hulu following a deal with Comcast. Comcast has agreed to sell its stake in Hulu to Disney within five years for at least $5.8 billion. NBCUniversal (NBCU) will continue to license content to Hulu until 2024. However, as soon as next year NBCU has the right to pull back content which was previously licensed exclusively to Hulu, meaning it would still be available to Hulu on a non-exclusive basis at a reduced licensing fee.

Audiobook subscription service Storytel reported its first quarter earnings on Tuesday. Sales and subscriber numbers were up compared to Q1 2018, however, the company also reported an increased loss, amounting to SEK 89 million. Storytel expects total paying subscribers to hit 880 000 in the second quarter. Focusing on the Nordics, Mediavision reports a strong audiobook market for Q1, 2.7 million households subscribe to at least one audiobook service with Denmark being the market with the highest household penetration.

Apple launched its reworked Apple TV application in more than 100 countries this week, including Sweden and Norway. The application acts as an aggregator service which lets users purchase TV services and subscriptions directly through the app by paying through iTunes. Users in Sweden are able to sign up for HBO Nordic, C More, Viaplay and Amazon Prime Video through the application. Interesting to note is that Netflix, with a market leading position in the Nordics, is not included. Mediavision will shortly launch the latest Netflix figures, but the streaming giant since long holds a commanding share of the Nordic market (3.3 million subscribing households Fall 2018). Apple’s SVOD service which is set to launch later this fall will also be available through the same application.

Across the Atlantic, Fox has entered into a long-term sports betting partnership with The Stars Group, which owns brands such as Pokerstars and Full Tilt. According to a press release two new betting products are to be launched this year, one of which will be named Fox Bet. Furthermore, as part of the partnership Fox will acquire 14.4 million newly emitted shares in The Stars Group, which equates to roughly 5 percent of ownership or $236 million.

Spotify has invested heavily in the podcast segment as of late with the acquisition of podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor. Now, Spotify continues its ambitious podcast endeavor by announcing the launch of a podcast tool through its sub-brand Soundtrap. Soundtrap which is a cloud-based audio production studio tool was acquired by Spotify for SEK500 million two years ago. In conjunction with the launch of “Soundtrap for Storytellers” Spotify is setting up a podcast school in collaboration with famous podcast profiles such as Alex Schulman and Anton Berg.

Mediavision blogs:

Competition on the Nordic streaming market is ramping up with several new services about to launch. Content investments are escalating and only partly offset by price increases. In the US, Netflix recently announced +13-18% on subscription fees.

Mediavision press releases:

The Swedish TV market broke a new record in turnover 2018, with the strongest growth in 8 years. The paid streaming segment (SVOD) marks the biggest increase, totaling almost SEK 4 billion […].

Industry news:

Disney and Comcast announced a deal under which Disney will assume full operational control of Hulu effective immediately. Within five years, Comcast has agreed to sell its stake in Hulu to Disney for at least $5.8 billion.
The all-new Apple TV app is available in over 100 countries starting tuesday. Customers can now subscribe to Apple TV channels within the Apple TV app – paying for only the ones they want – and watch on demand directly in the app.
Audiobook subscription service Storytel reports a loss of SEK89 million for the first quarter of 2019. Net revenue for the entire group amounts to SEK385 million, up from SEK312 the year prior. Storytel predicts premium subscribers to reach 880 000 in Q2.

Soundtrap was acquired by Spotify two years ago, now, as part of Spotify’s podcast endeavor Soundtrap is launching a new podcast tool. In conjunction with the launch Spotify is a podcast school with famous podcast profiles.
Fox Sports and The Stars Group announce a long-term sports betting partnership. The Stars Group and Fox expect to launch two new products in the fall of 2019 under the FOX Bet umbrella.
The 72nd installment of the Cannes Film Festival kicked off on Tuesday night. The festival has once again barred Netflix from screening its films due to Netflix refusing a mandated 36-month window between theatrical release and streaming premiere.

Mediavision in the news:

E-sport er det nye store, skal man tro tidligere Discovery-sjef […]
Analysevirksomheden Mediavision, kan endnu engang løfte sløret for at det går rigtigt godt i Sverige. TV markeder der, kan således se tilbage på endnu en rekord. Den korte version er at “svensk TV” i 2018 slog alle rekorder og havde den højeste omsætning siden 2010.
The Swedish TV market has seen its strongest growth in eight years. According to Mediavision, the SVOD market grew by 45% alone between 2017 and 2018, with ad-funded video on demand also making a major contribution.
Brytpunkten är här. Onlinetittandet i Sverige har nu en daglig räckvidd på 62 procent – exakt lika stor räckvidd som linjär-tv, enligt Mediavision. Onlinetittandet drivs framför allt av ökningen inom SVOD.

Industry events

*Events where Mediavision will be presenting