Storytel hits one million subscriber target five months ahead of expectations as audiobook and ebook users “rise significantly” during summer

Storytel has added 200,000 new subscribers since the start of 2019, taking it across the one million subscriber threshold as of today, August 12.

In a press release marking the occasion Storytel CEO Jonas Tellander said,

I am extremely moved and very thankful for the fantastic response Storytel receives every day from people all over the world who love stories. It motivates and inspires us to stay passionate and innovative and to continuously challenge ourselves to further develop new features and new wonderful reading experiences together with both authors and users. A million thanks to our fantastic customers.

 

As reported here at TNPS back in February, Tellander had set 1.1 million subscribers as the target for end 2019, and it’s now a given that will happen, probably with months to spare.

Storytel Q4 report: Subscribers up 44% Y/Y. Streaming sales up 38%. Targets 1.1 million subscribers by end 2019

In fact, with at least two – possibly three – new Storytel launches still to come this year, we could see that target far exceeded.

It was back in November that Storytel confirmed a Brazil launch for 2019.

Storytel confirms Brazil launch for 2019 as Mexico launch nears

That has yet to happen, although this year has seen launches in Singapore and Germany and Storytel has also confirmed a South Korea launch by end of year.

Storytel announces South Korea launch for 2019, along with Brazil, Germany and Singapore, leaving Thailand unconfirmed

Both Brazil and South Korea now appear on the Storytel (dot) com international site, and while there is no portal tagged for Thailand as yet, we shouldn’t read too much into that. The South Korea portal only appeared in the past week or so.

Storytel opened its Bangkok offices a year ago this month –

As Storytel’s 2019 Asia expansion steps up with a Thailand office, TNPS speculates where next for Storytel

and job invitations on LinkedIn and elsewhere suggest Thailand remains central to Storytel’s Asia expansion.

With 57 million people online – more than Italy – Thailand is a given as a Storytel country, and if not this year then next, but this year is entirely possible.

In today’s press release Tellander reminds us Storytel is currently in 17 markets – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Turkey, India, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Singapore and Mexico.

But he adds,

Additional market launches are planned in 2019; launches in Brazil and South Korea have already been announced.

The wording there strongly suggests there is at least one more launch penciled in for 2019.

At which point ponder this:

When considering that one million subscribers bear in mind where Storytel is not: the USA, UK, Canada, Australia…

It only launched in Germany in June, so that had little impact on that million subscribers, and Italy and Spain are both recent additions.
 
In other words, that one million subscribers comes substantially from markets regarded by many as publishing backwaters not worth taking seriously.
 
As for 2020… TNPS has already explored those possibilities here:

As audio becomes Bulgaria’s fastest-growing publishing sector, TNPS ponders where next for Storytel

There’s little else about Storytel’s future plans in today’s press release, but some interesting background and history worth repeating here, so the remainder of this post is culled directly from the press release:

Storytel was created in 2005, and is a digital pioneer in the rapidly growing global audiobook market we see today. Two years before the Iphone changed the way people think about one’s phone, Storytel’s founders Jonas Tellander and Jon Hauksson had the vision, the will and the passion for both the content and the technology, which would prove completely decisive in terms of breaking entirely new ground for streaming stories directly to consumers through the mobile network.

Storytel had a fantastic streaming concept — but in a complicated time.

In 2009, the global financial crisis cast a dark shadow over the world. Storytel had 2,000 subscribers and sales of SEK 4 million that year — the same year that CEO Jonas Tellander grasped the last straw and presented his concept on prime time television to the Swedish population and a jury composed of angel investors in a Swedish TV programme called “Draknästet” (eng. “Dragon’s Den”/”Shark Tank”).

Storytel is today Northern Europe’s largest streaming service for audio books and ebooks with a total of over 300,000 titles. The company operates in 17 markets across the globe. Its head office is in Stockholm. 

Storytel’s streaming business is based on a subscription service for audio books and ebooks, and operates under the Storytel and Mofibo brands. The publishing operations consist of Norstedts, Massolit, Storyside, Printz Publishing, People´s Press, Rabén & Sjögren, B. Wahlströms and Norstedts Kartor. Ztory, which is a streaming service for newspapers and magazines, has been under Storytel’s management since January 2019.

 

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