Newsletter 30th of September: High Churn Intentions for Audiobook Services – Free Trials Not Enough to Boost Penetration?


30 September 2020

So far, generous free trials have been a common strategy for audiobook services to attract new subscribers. Looking at Q2, Mediavision can conclude that churn intentions remains high – and significantly higher than for other streaming media services. 20% of audiobook subscriptions on the Swedish market were non-pay and mostly free-trials. One of the crucial questions for this industry is how to increase conversion rates and build loyalty. There is a significant share of those currently holding a free subscription that intend to cancel their subscription.

This past weekend (24-27 September) the annual Swedish bookfair was held, first time ever completely digital. Preliminary figures show that the event amassed approx. 373 000 views. In Denmark, the industry meeting “Bog forum” was cancelled all together (which caused Danish publisher People’s Press and book service Mofibo, both owned by Storytel, to arrange a digital festival announced for November).

Mediavision’s Audio Analysis concludes that a significant 20% share of the current audiobook subscriptions are currently not paid for (e.g. free trials). In comparison, among SVOD and music streaming services, the corresponding share amounts to 10%. The high share of non-paid subscriptions is a consequence of the audiobook industry currently focusing on building penetration, mostly through free trials. Hence, the fragmented market has resulted in a strong position for new consumers, who can enjoy a wide supply at low (or basically no) cost.

For the actors, the purpose is to build a large customer base for the future. And there is another worrying KPI: The high churn intention among actual, and paying, customers. 30% of today’s subscribers claim they intend to churn within 12 months. Focusing on those holding a non-paid subscription, 45% claim they intend to stay shorter than 12 months. So why is this? Well, the most frequently stated reason for churn is pricing – even among those that pay nothing. Likely, it would be tough to raise prices…

The bird’s eye view is that the current market situation comes out of a combination of fierce competition and difficulties in differentiating the services. Competition will not decrease anytime soon, with Amazon to enter this fall and other services (Apple, Spotify) pushing their share of “listening” through e g podcasts. Eventually, mergers are to be expected.

Industry News

3 Joins Forces with TV2 DK

Telecom operator 3 is set to launch a new form of subscription, offering consumers access to the TV 2 Play package “Favorit + Sport”. The price of the subscription is set to DKK 149 with commercials on TV 2 Play or DKK 179 without.

YLE Acquires National Team Football Rights

From 2022 to 2028, YLE will broadcast the Finnish national team’s matches in male football, including the European Championship (2024 and 2028), Nations League and the World Cup qualifiers. The rights are currently held by NENT.

Price Increases of Premier League in DK

Last week, Canal Digital, Altibox and RiksTV confirmed a price increase for TV 2’s Premier League channels, following that TV 2 had increased its prices. However, the price increase for TV 2 Sumo customers will be significantly lower.

TV 2 DK Secures Handball and Hockey Rights

In an exclusive agreement spanning until 2030, TV 2 Denmark has secured rights to all top tier rights for handball and ice hockey in Denmark. The agreement includes a collaboration with start-up My Game for production.

Thunder in My Heart Next NENT Original

The eight-part Swedish series Thunder in My Heart, created by Amy Deasismont who will also play the leading role, will be NENT’s next original production. The series will premiere on Viaplay across the Nordic and Baltic region in 2021.

Walter Presents Pick up NENT Studios Titles

UK Channel 4 service Walter Presents has acquires titles from NENT Studios UK, including Swedish Viaplay Original The Inner Circle and Norwegian drama Monster. The titles will be available in the US, UK, Belgium, Italy and New Zeeland.

Amazon Launches Game Streaming Service

The new service Luna makes Amazon the latest major tech player to enter the gaming streaming market. The product will initially be launched in the US, in addition to a new controller with Cloud Direct technology.

Cannes Film Festival Plans Special Event

This year’s edition of Cannes Film Festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic, but the organizers will host a special three-day event to honor the 2020 Official Selection. In addition, a jury will award the Palme d’Or for short films and the Cinéfondation prizes.

Disney+ Launches Group Watching

A new feature, allowing Disney+ subscribers to invite up to six people stream a TV show or movie synchronously, is set to launch in the US. All participants must have a Disney+ account. GroupWatch is available on all titles across web, apps, connected TV devices and smart TVs.

Mediavision in the News

High willingness to pay for sport in Nordics

Like most other media activities, sports have been under pressure in 2020 – not only due to covid-19, but also from a rights perspective reports Mediavision.

Efter Disneys intåg: ”Aldrig bättre rustade”

Marie Nilsson, vd på Mediavision, tror att svenska tjänster kan stå starkt bland de utländska alternativen. ”Redan i dag har man i snitt 1,8 videotjänster per hushåll och jag tror att det kommer att öka ytterligare.”

Nent-chefen viftar bort hotet från Disney – ”Mest för barnfamiljer”

Dagen efter att Disney lanserat sin streamingtjänst Disney+ höjer Nent målet för Viaplay-abonnenter vid slutet av året med ytterligare 17 procent, för att bryta igenom 3-miljonersvallen redan i år.

Report: Spotify opposes Apple One

According to Mediavision’s newly published analysis Media & Markets, Spotify stands out as the most popular service in the Nordics. The company invests heavily in innovation projects.

Efter Apples drag: ”Kan ersätta Spotify”

Apples nya pakettjänst Apple one är ett hot mot Spotify – men inte mot Netflix. Den slutsatsen drar analytiker som SvD har talat med. Däremot spås ingen risk för ökad prispress på andra streamingtjänster.

Halv miljon har digital dagstidning

De digitala tidningsprenumerationerna ökar kraftigt. Men intäkterna ökar mindre – många är gratis när tidningarna gör allt för att locka till sig läsare.

TV4 fyller 30 år – och tvingas kämpa för livet

Sveriges största tv-kanal – men en lilleputt på ­efterkälken i det digitala streamingracet. När TV4 fyller 30 år finns det skäl att både fira framgången och frukta framtiden.

Swedish online video hits new highs in Q2

The number of people that view streamed content on an average day in Sweden has never been higher and has a reached a point, says research firm Mediavision, where the country can be categorised as having entered a completely digital TV-market.

Över 500 000 hushåll prenumererar på dagstidning

Över en halv miljon, närmare bestämt 540 000, svenska hushåll prenumererar digitalt på en dagstidning, rapporterar TT och hänvisar till en analys av Mediavision.

Daily press digital subscriptions up 40%

According to a Mediavision analysis of the Swedish market for daily press, consumer behaviour has changed radically in the past year. 540 000 households now subscribe to a digital daily newspaper, which is 160 000 – or 40 per cent – more than 12 months ago.

Disney tar plats i kampen om tv-tittarna

Konkurrensen om tv-tittarnas tid och pengar är redan stenhård. Och nu kommer storspelaren Disney plus. – Det mesta talar för att de kommer att ha en stor inverkan på den nordiska mediemarknaden,
säger Marie Nilsson, vd för analysföretaget Mediavision.

Tv-striden hårdnar – nu kommer Disney till Sverige

På tisdag kommer Disney+ till Sverige. Med den omskrivna streamingtjänsten följer en enorm katalog av filmer, men lanseringen har också kantats av kritik och kontroverser.

Sverige strömmar tv som aldrig förr

Coronautbrottet har fått svenskarna att titta på strömmad tv mer än någonsin tidigare. Under årets andra kvartal strömmade 66 procent av landets 15–74-åringar tv varje dag, visar nya siffror från analysföretaget Mediavision.

Telenor and TV4 Media Sign New Deal 

In a new, perennial agreement, Telenor has acquired the right to offer its customers streamed content from TV4 Media’s channels TV4, Sjuan and TV12. Telenor already holds similar agreements with SVT, Nent Group and Discovery.