Hard on the heels of Storytel’s Q1 results comes news that rival operator Bookbeat saw a 130% revenue growth in Q1 2017. This after a 280% increase in revenue in 2017.
Bookbeat, the digital arm of Sweden’s Bonnier, still draws most of its revenue from Sweden, but reported profitability in both Sweden and Finland.
Said Niclas Sandin in a press release:
Two years into the trip, we still show strong three-digit revenue growth in the first quarter, while the first two markets have already begun to deliver a positive contribution to our owners.
Earlier this month Bonnier’s Bookbeat UK venture, just a year old, with 10,000 titles, was put in the slow lane because British publishers were wary of the audiobook streaming model that is proving so popular in Scandinavia and beyond.
Speaking to The Bookseller, Sandin explained,
The biggest feedback we have gotten from our users is that they want more premium content. We did a broad marketing push and we had a lot of users joining up last year. And the feedback is that we need a broader coverage of content.
With this feedback in mind, we have continued discussions with major publishers in the UK which have not yet released their content to us.
The response from publishers has consistently been something along the lines of ‘We know the flat rate model probably is the future and the market really could use some competition, but we do not need to stress this and first want to see what happens in the next couple of years’.
Bookbeat had a warmer reception in Germany –
Bonnier’s Bookbeat headhunt’s Amazon Audible’s finest for Bookbeat Germany
As reported here in February, Bookbeat also plans to launch in Italy and Spain.
As Bokus prepares to launch audiobook-streaming in Sweden, Bookbeat is upbeat about prospects
Bookbeat faces competition from Storytel in both Spain and Italy (I expect Storytel to launch in Italy imminently).
For comparative Q1 results for Storytel, see this post from earlier today here at TNPS:
Storytel Q1 results: Subscribers up 51%, streaming revenue up 43%. Subscribers outside Sweden up 95%