Swedish streaming service Bookbeat may have put the UK on hold, but it’s still battling for market share in Finland, Germany and homeland Sweden, with Finland performing well.
In an interview with Sweden’s Boktugg, Bookbeat CEO Niclas Sandin intimated he expected more growth from Germany in 2019 and that together Germany and Finland might exceed Sweden’s numbers, but warned overall growth in the Scandinavian streaming market would slow.
Boktugg raised the prospect of Piratförlaget investing in streaming, and the possible arrival of Amazon and Bookmate.
As discussed here at TNPS many times, it seems unlikely Amazon has much interest in books for its smaller market expansion (we’re now in our fifth year without a new Kindle store) even if Bezos did take the plunge with an Amazon Nordic venture, and Bookmate, as Boktugg notes, is only in Denmark right now. In any case Bookmate is ebook focussed, meaning Bookbeat has little to worry about except in Germany, where its audiobook service goes head to head with Amazon’s Audible.
For consumers Bookbeat offers the better deal, financially, but not as much content. Leaving the big question: can Bookbeat’s model attract more publishers outside Scandinavia?
In the UK the answer was a resounding no, and now Bookbeat faces the task of convincing new suppliers to come on board, and existing suppliers to stay, as its remuneration model switches to pay-by consumption, while still offering the buffet all-you-can-listen-to model for consumers.
Asked about this by Boktugg, Sandin revealed that in Germany consumers listened to more hours of content than elsewhere, and so a hybrid consumer model is of offer whereby one can pay EUR 14.90 for up to thirty hours, or pay the Bookbeat Premium rate of EUR 19.90 for unlimited access.
In Germany, where the average listening is higher than in Sweden, Bookbeat, for example, runs a hybrid where the users in the basic subscription (EUR 14.90) can listen up to 30 hours, which is enough for most people.
But as Sandin acknowledges, such a solution is not a realistic option in Sweden where the competition use the same buffet model.
There was no intimation in this interview with Boktugg that Bookbeat planned to make a renewed effort in the UK, or that it was looking seriously at other territories.