Newsletter 17th of November
17 November 2021
The main subjects of this week…
- Storytel & Spotify on a shopping spree
- Mediavision: Nordic families with kids – big media spenders, especially video
- Disney reports Q4 results
Storytel & Spotify on aquisition streak
Over the past years, we have seen countless acquisitions in the podcast arena. Following the events last week, the boom for sure seems to have hit the audiobook industry as well.
The first announcement came last Thursday, when Spotify revealed the acquisition of audiobook platform Findaway. Spotify has declined to share any information on the financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in Q4 2021, subject to regulatory review and approval. Findaway was founded in 2004, and today operates a number of brands and products led by its large audiobook distribution business – connecting content creators with reseller partners like Apple, Google and Storytel. The press release from Spotify cited that “Findaway’s technology infrastructure will enable Spotify to quickly scale its audiobook catalogue and innovate on the experience for consumers, simultaneously providing new avenues for publishers, authors and independent creators to reach new audiences around the globe.”
Following, Storytel announced on Friday that it will acquire the streaming service Audiobooks.com. Subject to customary regulatory approvals, closing of the acquisition is expected to take place at the end of December 2021. The acquisition is said to lay the foundation of the company’s expansion into English-language markets. Audiobooks.com was launched in 2011 and offers a content catalogue of 300,000 audiobooks from hundreds of major publishing partners, as well as free podcasts and additional audio entertainment.
These acquisitions follow the partnership between Spotify and Storytel, announced in May this year, where the two teamed up to let subscribers listen to books in-app. The partnership is expected to be realized in the first half of 2022.
On our home turf, news broke this week that Swedish podcast production companies Just Stories and Soundtelling have reached an agreement with Danish Third Ear to form a Nordic podcast production company under the name Third Ear Studios. Combined revenues for the three companies amount to approximately SEK 25 million in 2021, and target set for next year is SEK 45 million. In conjunction with the merger, Third Ear Studios has acquired SEK 6 million in capital funds from Comade and Art and Bob. The plan is to adapt the company’s podcasts to the screen.
Families with children are big media spenders, especially on video
In an industry where competition seems to be ramping up by the minute, consumer retention is just as important as acquisition. Mediavision’s new analysis ‘Streaming – Nordic Families’ shed light on how kids’ content serves as a highly important tool for retention.
To begin with, the vast importance of this consumer segment is manifested in the difference in household spend. Families with children spend approx. 50% more on media than households without kids. One of the biggest differences between the two segments refers to video streaming. Spend on SVOD and TVOD in households with children exceed spend in those without by +80%. Further, both penetration and stacking are significantly higher in households with children compared to those without.
Looking ahead, Mediavision expects both penetration and stacking in households with kids to grow more than in other households – which renders the conclusion that this segment is likely to continue being central to SVOD market growth.
Mediavision has recently published a new analysis focusing on families with children and its TV and streaming habits. We strive to broaden and deepen knowledge about families with children’s purchases and consumption of streaming services. The analysis covers the Nordic market.
Readly’s Q3 report shows growth
Last week, Readly presented its Q3 results. The service currently carries 5,000 national and international magazines through collaborations with 900 publishers worldwide and is available in approximately fifty countries.
– Revenue for Q3 2021 totaled SEK 118.9 million, an increase of 27.3% compared to Q3 2020
– The number of full-paying subscribers increased 28.2% YOY to 435,372 at the end of September 2021
– The operating result is Q3 2021 was SEK -48.0 million, compared to SEK -51.2 million in Q3 2020
Since being listed on Nasdaq Stockholm in September 2020, Readly’s stock has seen a downwards trend. Today, the stock is traded at around SEK 21, a -68% drop from the introductory price of SEK 65. At its peak, the Readly stock traded at SEK 78 (Jan 18th, 2021).
Disney Plus miss subscriber growth target
On Wednesday last week, Disney reported earnings for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 2nd. The company saw revenues increase by +26% YOY to a total of USD 18.524 million in the fourth quarter and posted income from continuing operations of USD 290 million compared to a loss of USD 580 million in Q4 2020.
However, subscriber growth for Disney Plus fell short of expectations. In Q4, the service added 2 million subscribers, which amounted to a total of 118 million – significantly lower than the expected 125 million. Management cited content production delays as the prime explanation, which is expected to return to normal by September 2022. Further, Disney reiterated the long-term guidance for Disney Plus that is to be profitability by 2024 with 230-260 million subscribers at the end of that year.
Disney stated that it expects to invest more than USD 8-9 billion in content for Disney Plus through 2024. In 2022, the aim is to almost double Disney Plus content from its marquee brands – as well as increase output of regional and local content, by having +340 local original titles in development and production.
Mediavision in the News
Sweden Ups SVOD Sub Base by 350,000 – Media Play News
Sporträttigheterna: ”Fler aktörer kommer att konkurrera” – Journalisten
350 000 nya SVOD-abonnemang i Sverige senaste året – Börsvärlden
Ilta-Sanoma, PlayPilot launch streaming guide in Finland – Rapid TV News
Mediavision says HBO Max to benefit in Nordic region from lower price, extra stream and fictional slant – Telecom Paper
Over halvdelen af danske husstande betaler for at se sport – MediaWatch
One of the most powerful competitive tools for video streaming services is content exclusivity. Sports rights are by far one of the most attractive content genres in this regard. However, audiobook streaming services rarely apply this tactic. Could exclusive content be a competitive tool also for the audio book actors going forward? – Boktugg
TV-Dagen: 11 November, Stockholm, Sweden**
MIPCOM: 11-14 October, Cannes, France
Bergen International Film Festival: 20-29 October 2021, Bergen, Norway
SportsPro OTT Summit: 15-18 November 2021, London, UK
IBC: 3-6 December 2021, Amsterdam, Netherlands
CTAM Europe Executive Management Programme: 20-25 March 2023, Fontainebleau, France
* Mediavision will attend ** Mediavision will present