Storytel’s 21st market is a country of 11.5 million people where only 60% of the population speak the language that content will be served in. But there is method in the madness.

Belgium is set to become Storytel’s 21st market next week, ahead of Thailand, also scheduled for a 2020 launch.

As reported in September here at TNPS, the Storytel Belgium show will be run from the Storytel Netherlands office, under the firm guidance of Netherlands Country Manager Ruth de Jager.

De Jager is reported to have said,

Belgians have a richer book culture than the Dutch and wanted to take advantage of it. So we will start in Flanders because there is a lot of overlap there in terms of language and then we will investigate the possibilities of launching in the other parts of the country.

The content will include stand-up comedy shows in Flemish, the Belgian variant of Dutch that is spoken in Flanders (the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, Limburg, East Flanders and West Flanders).

The rest of the country, for those unfamiliar, speak French, but it seems Storytel is in no hurry to cater for their needs.

The comedy shows, de Jager explains, are because,

We are still working hard to record books in Flemish. In the meantime, there is therefore the alternative of the Flemish comedy shows.

As explored in the TNPS post in September, Storytel Belgium marks a partial shift in how Storytel does things, with a focus on leveraging existing language content from one country to launch in another.

That’s not unheard of. Storytel has done just that leveraging its Spanish-language content to be available in Spain, Mexico and Colombia, with more launches planned in Latin America.

Launches in Austria and Switzerland to leverage the Storytel Germany catalogue are therefore likely in 2021.