It’s been so long since we heard anything negative about Sweden’s experiment as the world’s audiobook subscription Petri dish that it sometimes seems digital subscription, led in the Nordics by audiobooks, can do no wrong.
But if a Mediavision survey is correct, the good times may be coming to an end.
According to the Swedish news site BreakIt (auto-translated),
One in four subscribers to the audiobook companies plans to cancel the subscription or change service within 12 months.
This says BreakIt, equates to 195,000 households.
Adding to the worries of Storytel, Bookbeat, Nextory, Bokus et al, Mediavision’s survey further reported that an additional 20% of respondents said they were considering cancelling their subscriptions by year’s end.
Paraphrasing Mediavision, BreakIt says,
Price plays an important role as the supply is wide and the audio book companies thus have little to distinguish one another. In order to avoid a price war, the players should, for example, engage in bundling, in merging several different services.
It’s not clear from this how much the anticipated shrinkage will be due to genuine disaffection with the service and format, or how much any particular operator is likely to be hit or to benefit.
But one would expect Storytel and Bookbeat to be best positioned to ride out the domestic storm, as both have invested in original content that gives them an edge.
Storytel will have the additional advantage of a wide international platform to keep revenues coming in even if Mediavision’s worst case scenario comes to fruition.