Newsletter 14th of June
14 June 2023
These are the main topics this week:
- Storytel presents new growth strategy and AI collab
- Spotify is reportedly changing its podcast strategy
- Lionel Messi is set to join the MLS in a deal involving Apple
- Amazon plans to an ad tier for Prime Video
Storytel presents new growth strategy and AI collab
Yesterday, Storytel held a Capital Markets Day in Stockholm. The Swedish audiobook service presented its new mid-term financial targets and strategic direction for the future.
Some of the highlights of Storytel’s new mid-term financial targets were:
- Total net sales to reach at least 5,000 MSEK in 2026 through organic growth.
- Organic average annual streaming revenue growth of 15 percent.
- EBITDA margin of at least 12 percent in 2026, with a long-term ambition of 15 percent or higher.
“In Streaming, we have a proven business model with a current EBITDA margin of over 20 percent in the Nordics and the US, excluding central overhead. We will allocate our resources to markets with the right conditions for success, and by increasing our subscriber base to more than 3.2 million paid subscribers by 2026, we are in a position to deliver growth with increased profitability over time,” commented Johannes Larcher, CEO at Storytel.
Storytel’s presented growth strategy, is to focus on ten core markets with high audiobook penetration or high growth potential. These markets include the Nordics, the US, Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, and Bulgaria. In addition, the company plans to pursue careful and capital-efficient expansion in a selected number of high-potential markets, which has been identified through Storytel’s previous expansion efforts.
During the event, Storytel also announced an exclusive partnership with the AI speech software provider ElevenLabs. The partnership will involve the development of AI voices particularly tailored to Storytel’s core markets and the production of AI narrated audiobooks.
The collaboration with ElevenLabs kicks off this summer with a pilot launch of the feature Storytel VoiceSwitcher. The new feature will allow listeners to switch between a selection of AI voices, complementing the offering of organic human narration in the service. This summer, the feature will be available for selected audiobooks in English and before the end of the year, the company will add support for Swedish and Danish AI voices.
This analysis covers both the TV- and streaming markets in the Nordic countries. It rests on three pillars: the consumers, the market, and the actors. Analyzing the consumers takes us far – but not all the way. Studying the actors and the market as a whole is just as important.
Spotify is reportedly changing its podcast strategy
Last Monday, Spotify announced a layoff of 200 roles, primarily in its podcast division. Now, reports of a strategy shift in its podcast business has emerged.
According to sources, Spotify is in talks to make the popular podcasts Armchair Expert and Anything Goes available on other streaming platforms. Armchair Expert is currently presented as a “Spotify Exclusive” and is only available on Spotify. The audio version of Anything Goes is already available on Apple Podcasts, with the video version still exclusively available on Spotify. According to people familiar with the situation, more shows will likely follow this path to non-exclusiveness. This would mean a turnaround in Spotify’s podcast strategy, potentially a way to attract more
listeners and increase revenues for its now exclusive shows.
Spotify has paid significant sums to acquire exclusive rights to podcast shows. One of them is The Joe Rogan Experience, for which Spotify reportedly paid USD 200 million for a three-and-half-year licensing deal.
Time will tell if Spotify changes its podcast strategy and make exclusive shows, such as Anything goes and The Joe Rogan Experience available on other platforms. Spotify has not yet commented the matter.
Lionel Messi is set to join the MLS in a deal involving Apple
One of football’s biggest stars, Lionel Messi, is set to join the Major League Soccer (MLS) and Inter Miami. The Argentinean is currently under contract with Paris Saint German, but as the contract expires end of June, he is then set to join Inter Miami. Through the transfer is not yet officially announced, Messi stated last Wednesday that “I made the decision that I am going to Miami”.
Naturally, this is a big deal for many stakeholders, not least the media actors involved with Inter Miami and the MLS. Since the news broke out, Inter Miami’s Instagram account has surged in followers. In the beginning of June, the club’s Instagram account had one million followers. Today, it reached eight million followers. Inter Miami now has the most Instagram followers out of all NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS teams.
The tickets to Inter Miami’s games has also skyrocketed. It is still unclear when Messi will make his debut, but according to sources, it could be on July 21st when Inter Miami faces Mexican team Cruz Azul in a Leagues Cup game. The average ticket price to this game is now at USD 1,248 — a +922% increase compared to last Monday, before the announcement of Messi’s transfer.
Lionel Messi joining the MLS is also big deal for Apple, as it holds the streaming rights for MLS in the US over the next decade. With the addition of Messi to the league, it certainly makes the league a lot more appealing, to a broader audience as well, since Messi has a global fanbase. Apple also recently announced that it will air a four-part docuseries about Messi on Apple TV Plus.
The details of Messi’s contract have not been confirmed, but it is rumoured that Messi will make roughly USD 53 million annually. In addition to the salary, MLS has reportedly put together a deal for Messi that includes a percentage of sales from Apple’s MLS Season Pass, a percentage of Inter Miami’s shirt sales and an ownership stake in the club of Inter Miami.
For the fifth consecutive year, Mediavision presents the Sports Analysis. The analysis provides a comprehensive overview of the current Nordic sports rights market and an in-depth analysis of consumer interest, willingness to pay and pay rate. It covers 19 sports and +100 specific sports rights.
Amazon plans to an ad tier for Prime Video
Amazon is planning to launch an advertising-supported tier to its Prime Video streaming service. According to people familiar with the situation, Amazon looks to further build its ad business and generate more revenue from entertainment.
The discussions of a Prime Video ad-tier are at an early stage and reportedly come in the wake of cost-cutting evaluations across the company’s businesses. Despite the macroeconomic challenges, advertising has been an area of continued growth for Amazon. The company’s ad revenue was USD 9.5 billion in the first quarter of 2023 – an increase of +21 percent compared to the same period last year.
Amazon has taken steps to bring more ad-supported programming to Prime Video. Today, its sports coverage comes with ads, and some of its shows have product-placement advertising. Prime Video also offers access to content from Freevee, Amazon’s free ad-supported video service.
The possible addition of an ad-tier to Amazon Prime Video would bring the company in line with other streaming services such as Disney Plus and Netflix, which both released their ad-tiers in the US in late 2022.
Consumer Device Habits
Mediavision has conducted an analysis of media devices in the Nordics covering both penetration of hardware and usage. The focus is on video-related devices, including TVs, media centers/gaming consoles and smartphones. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Mediavision in the News
Viaplay mot strömmen i streamingkriget – Omni
Trendbrott: Fler svenskar piratkopierar film och tv – Dagens Nyheter
Streamingbranschen har fått växtvärk – Sveriges Radio
Marie Nilsson: Nya rekord för hushållens medieköp trots vikande konjunktur – Dagens Media
Poll: Illegal streaming on the rise in Nordic countries – Yle
Betalväggen funkar – vi betalar mer än någonsin för poddar – Breakit
Danske og svenske husstande bruger flere penge på medieabonnementer – Mediawatch
Mediavision: Streaming growth in Finland, pushed by telcos – Broadband TV News
MIPCOM, 16-19 October 2023, Cannes, France
Stockholm Film Festival: 8-19 November 2023, Stockholm, Sweden
* Mediavision will attend
** Mediavision will present