Storytel beats forecast for the third quarter of 2020

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Storytel had an average of 1,360,300 paying subscribers in the third quarter of 2020, which is an increase of 103,300 customers compared to the second quarter of 2020, and exceeding the forecast of 1,345,000 paying subscribers that was previously estimated. The annual subscriber growth in the third quarter of 2020 was 345,900 customers compared to the third quarter of 2019. Streaming revenues for the third quarter of 2020 came in at 490.2 MSEK, compared to the forecasted 483.5 MSEK. Annual revenue growth amounts to 23%.

The average number of paying Storytel subscribers in the Nordic segment in the third quarter of 2020 was 902,000, which corresponds to 12,000 paying subscribers above forecast and a customer base increase of 166,000 subscribers compared to the third quarter of 2019. Streaming revenues in the Nordics came in at 394.5 MSEK, which was 5.5 MSEK above forecast. The ARPU for the Nordic segment came in at 120 SEK, which was in line with forecast. 

In the Non-Nordic segment, the average number of subscribers grew by 65% compared to the third quarter of 2019 and totalled 458,300, which corresponds to an annual growth of 179,900 paying subscribers and an increase of 34,600 customers compared to the second quarter of 2020. This exceeded the previously communicated forecast of 455,000 subscribers for the third quarter of 2020. Streaming revenues for the Non-Nordic segment totalled 95.8 MSEK in the third quarter of 2020, corresponding to an annual revenue growth of 63%.

“Storytel saw an increased demand for the service and an influx of customers that exceeded expectations regarding both subscriber and revenue growth for the third quarter – a period that historically is the strongest of the year in our industry. In a world where the Covid19 pandemic affects the everyday life of the entire global community, Storytel continues to successfully create value for authors, publishers and its growing customer base, both in the Nordic and the Non-Nordic segments”, says Jonas Tellander, founder and CEO of Storytel.

“The consumers’ growing interest and commitment to Storytel and audiobooks spurs us on in our long-term investment to making the most attractive stories easily accessible for everyone, everywhere and at any time. Our acquisitions of the Arabic audiobook service Kitab Sawti, the Israeli audiobook service iCast, the leading Icelandic publisher Forladið and the Nordic audiobook production company Earselect in the recent months, underline the conviction in Storytel's global expansion”, says Jonas Tellander.  

Table 1: Key performance indicators for Streaming and Print Publishing 

Currency: SEK 000’s Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q3 2020
Streaming Total        Actual6     Forecast1
Revenue 399,178 421,454 429,251 459,115 490,234 483,500
Contribution Profit2,6 53,043 58,977 92,611 100,493
Contribution Margin 13.3% 14.0% 21.6% 21.9%
Avg. Paying Subscribers3 1,014,400 1,083,400 1,154,800 1,257,000 1,360,300 1,345,000
ARPU4 (SEK/Month) 131 130 124 122 120 120
Streaming Nordics5
Revenue 340,315 352,222 349,768 366,322 394,453 389,000
Contribution Profit2,6 109,563 115,689 113,476 107,176
Contribution Margin 32.2% 32.8% 32.4% 29.3%
Avg. Paying Subscribers3 736,000 757,600 785,800 833,300 902,000 890,000
ARPU4 (SEK/Month) 154 155 148 147 146 146
Streaming Non-Nordics
Revenue 58,863 69,233 79,484 92,793 95,781 94,500
Contribution Profit2,6 -56,521 -56,713 -20,866 -6,684
Contribution Margin -96.0% -81.9% -26.3% -7.2%
Avg. Paying Subscribers3 278,400 325,800 369,000 423,700 458,300 455,000
ARPU4 (SEK/Month) 70 71 72 73 70 69

1 Forecast means an approximation based on information available at the time the report was prepared.

2 Contribution Profit is defined as streaming revenue minus royalties to third-party publishers and rights holders, external production costs, transaction/payment costs and marketing costs. Storytel Reader and Ztory are not included in Streaming. 

3 Avg. Paying Subscribers means the average number of paying Storytel subscribers during the quarter. Stand-alone customers from Ztory are not included. For Family subscriptions, each standard stream (not so-called Kids Mode) is considered one paying customer. 

4 ARPU = Average Revenue Per User (Subscriber) per month. 

5 Storytel Norway is included in the figures @ 100%. In the consolidated accounts, Norway is reported in accordance with the principle of proportional consolidation.

6 Storytel has chosen to voluntarily apply the capitalisation model instead of the expensing model regarding internally developed intangible assets. In this table, the development of our digital catalogue will be capitalised and no longer treated as an expense as of Q1 2020.

FNCA Sweden AB is the company’s certified adviser. FNCA can be reached at or +46 8 528 00 399.

This disclosure contains information that Storytel is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation (EU nr 596/2014). The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person, on 07-10-2020 08:00 CET.

For more information, please contact:

Jörgen Gullbrandson, Interim CFO, Storytel: +46 73 378 01 75

Dan Panas, Head of Communications, Storytel: +46 70 186 52 90  


About Storytel
Storytel is one of the world’s leading audiobook and e-book streaming services and offers unlimited listening and reading of more than 500 000 titles on a global scale. Our vision is to make the world a more empathetic place with great stories to be shared and enjoyed by anyone, anywhere and anytime. Storytel is a digital platform provider as well as a comprehensive publishing group. The streaming business area offers subscriptions for audiobooks and e-books under the Storytel and Mofibo brands. Storytel’s publishing business area is carried out through the publishing houses Norstedts, Massolit, StorySide, Printz Publishing, People’s Press, Rabén & Sjögren, B.Wahlströms, Gummerus Kustannus and Norstedts Kartor. Ztory – a subscribed digital read-all-you-can streaming service for newspapers and magazines, is part of Storytel since January 2019. Storytel operates in 20 markets around the globe and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.



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