Newsletter 12th of January
12 January 2022
Hello 2022! We are happy to give you the first weekly update of this year – the most relevant and important news in the media industry. These are our top stories this week:
- Mediavision: HBO Max adds +635 000 subscribing households in the Nordics
- Storytel presents Q4 2021
- Money money money
HBO adds +635 000 subscribing households following Max launch
On October 26th of last year, HBO Nordic was exchanged for the broader Warner service HBO Max in the Nordic countries. New figures from Mediavision show that this had a noticeable effect on the total number of Nordic SVOD subscriptions. Thanks to the re-launch, the service is now back on the Nordic SVOD top-three list, with an average Nordic household penetration of just below 20%.
In 2019, shortly after the last season of Game of Thrones premiered, HBO Nordic reached new hights with close to 2 million subscribing households (15-74-years-olds). After that and up until the HBO Max launch, the service lost approximately 400 000 subscribing households.
Mediavision can now conclude that the launch of HBO Max has resulted in HBO not only regaining what was lost, but that it has also added new customers. The bounce-back amounts to more than 635 000 new subscribing households. HBO has thereby reclaimed its position as the third biggest SVOD service in the Nordics, with 2.2 million subscribing households. This is the highest number for HBO ever recorded by Mediavision.
Read up on the full press release with commentary from Mediavision’s CEO here.
On the global arena, AT&T disclosed last week that HBO, including HBO Max, amassed a total of 73.8 million subscribers at the end of 2021. This figure surpasses the company’s own guidance of 70-73 million. Strong international launches of HBO Max in regions such as Latin America and Europe were cited as a contributing factor to the success.
Further, the European Commission granted unconditional antitrust clearance to Discovery’s USD 43 billion acquisition of AT&T’s WarnerMedia just before 2021 ended. The merger is expected to close mid-2022, but still needs to be approved by Discovery stockholders and pass other regulatory approvals including those in the US. More than 30 Democratic members of Congress have expressed concerns regarding reduced competition.
This analysis covers both the and TV- and streaming markets in the Nordic countries. It rests on three pillars: the consumers, the market, and the actors. Analysing the consumers takes us far – but not all the way. Studying the actors and the market as a whole is just as important.
Storytel shares details on its’ Q4 -21 performance
This Monday, Storytel released a report on the development for subscriber figures and streaming revenues in Q4 2021. Highlights included:
- Streaming revenues per quarter increased to SEK 605 million in Q4 2021, compared to SEK 503 million in Q4 2020
- During Q4, Storytel gained 24.000 new customers in the Nordic region and close to 37.000 in other territories
- The average number of paying subscribers during Q4 2021 was 1.75 million, compared to 1.44 million during Q4 2020
The press release stated that the newly launched student subscription was a contributing factor to growth in the Nordic region. Storytel’s CEO also said that the company will increase investments in exclusive content in order to attract and retain subscribers going forward. Further, Storytel’s acquisition of Audiobooks.com was finalized last week.
Mediavision’s latest analysis of the total audiobook market in Sweden revealed strong subscriber growth in 2021, with more than 100 000 additional subscribing households. Read up on the full press release here.
Money money money
Investments in both existing media rights and production of new, exclusive content (commonly referred to as originals) has been a super-hot topic lately. As the “streaming war” nowadays is portrayed as escalating, the statements on the war treasuries, i.e., content budgets, have been frequent.
This week, Warner Media upped its pledge on content spending in 2022 to USD 18 billion, in a move to close the gap to Netflix and Disney. In 2022, the top eight US media groups are expected to spend at least USD 115 billion combined on new movies and TV shows, to attract new customers for their respective video streaming businesses.
However, heavy content investments are far from limited to video streaming. In addition to the previously mentioned statement from Storytel regarding increased investments in exclusive content, news broke this week that Danish media group Egmont aims to spend DKK 70 billion on content over the next four years (until 2025). The ambition is to double revenues from five business areas: digital books, video streaming, video- and computer games, digital agencies, and e-commerce.
Further, new data from Music Business Worldwide shows that at least USD 5 billion was spent on acquisitions of music rights in 2021. This figure includes deals for individual catalogues sold by artists and songwriters, as well as acquisitions of music rights portfolios (including those owned by active labels/publishers) between companies. Two of the most recent high-profile sales of recording catalogues are David Bowie’s and John Legend’s.
Mediavision in the News
HBO adds +635 000 subscribing households following Max launch – Helsinki Times
HBO Max bounceback adds 635,000 Nordic subs – Broadband TV News
HBO Max attracts 635,000 subscribers in Nordic region since launch – Telecompaper
HBO bounces back in Nordics with Max launch – Digital TV Europe
Nya siffror från Mediavision: Så många prenumeranter har HBO Max – Dagens Media
TV Drama Vision – Göteborg Film Festival: 2-3 February 2022, Gothenburg, Sweden
Berlin Film Festival and European Film Market: 10-20 February 2022, Berlin, Germany
CTAM Europe Executive Management Programme: 20-25 March 2022, Fontainebleau, France
MIPTV: 4-6 April 2022, Cannes, France
NEM Dubrovnik: 6-9 June 2022, Dubrovnik, Croatia
* Mediavision will attend
** Mediavision will present