The combined internet user base of the four Nordic countries amounts to 16.2 million. The combined online populations of France and Spain total over 100 million.
Some readers have asked if I’ve lost interest in the Nordic streaming saga, given the sparse TNPS coverage of late, but no. I’m still endlessly fascinated by what’s unfolding, but a) the Nordic subscription scene has shifted focus from growth to profitability as the post-Covid chickens come home to roost, and TNPS is not an accountancy journal, and b) being able to get online in any meaningful way to keep track of the industry is a continuing challenge that those of you in the First World with double and triple digit internet speeds can only imagine if you are old enough to remember dial-up.
A case in point (both points) is the latest from Nextory, which I’m coming to almost two weeks late, and deferring to Sölve Dahlgren’s report over at Boktugg, as it’s important to keep on record in the English-language trade journals what’s happening.
Per Boktugg, “Nextory increased revenue to SEK 552 (397) million in 2022 and at the same time reduced the loss to SEK -135.6 (-153.5) million. During the year, the company shifted its focus from growth to profitability, and in the Nordics there was a positive result, while growth was strong in other countries.”
Last year Nextory clocked 40% revenue growth, but of course revenues and profits are different animals, and with an eye on an IPO, Nextory’s CEO Shadi Bitar is now focussed on pushing up the short-term profit potential, meaning new market launches are unlikely, and acquisitions will need to offer immediate benefits.
Profitability is still a distant horizon for Nextory right now, with total losses of SEK 484 million ($43 million), but even so there are some Nextory markets already into profit (Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway), and some others – specifically France and Spain – show good potential to reach that point sooner rather than later. Interestingly, these two are already on par with Denmark and Finland in revenue terms, with the potential of scale to be bigger than Sweden.
Nextory entered Spain with both feet on the ground thanks to the acquisition of Nubico, but up against Audible and Storytel.
And a similar story in France where Nextory acquired Youboox to hit the ground running.
Worth noting here that the combined internet user base of the four Nordic countries (SE 10 million, Denmark 5.7 million, Norway 5.3 million, Finland 5.2 million) amounts to 16.2 million. The combined online populations of France and Spain (respectively 60.3 million and 43.5 million) totals over 100 million. Meaning France and Spain will be where Bitar puts his profit focus, these being countries that are, in Bitar’s words, “where book streaming has just started to take off.”
Dahlgren notes that in April of this year “a new convertible loan was taken out from existing shareholders for a total of SEK 38.9 million,” and that “during the year Nextory also refinanced the borrowing from Nordea by repaying a debt of SEK 107.2 million and at the same time taking out new collateral of SEK 100 million from Ark Kapital, which specializes in lending to growth companies.”
Dahlgren has further numbers in the Boktugg report for those that get their kicks from write-downs and EBIDTA reports, but those aside, the key points are that Nextory now employs 147 people, and that the IPO plans are on hold but only pending a swing in market mood.
One other point of interest. As 2022 closed, Nextory added news and magazines to the platform.
Bitar told Boktugg: “The investment in e-magazines has so far been successful and in the future we hope to be able to add more titles and publishers in several markets.”
The move takes Nextory down a Scribd-like road where text reading is a key part of the platform’s appeal, not a fringe benefit, and that may yet prove to be a significant strength for Nextory if it can get publishers on board in its other markets.