BookBeat reports 28% surge in paying users

BookBeat, based in Stockholm, has reported a significant surge in paying users, marking a 28 percent increase in 2023, Publishing Perspective reported. CEO Niclas Sandin announced that the company’s total revenue for the year reached 1.122 billion Swedish kroner (equivalent to US$118.2 million), up from 877 million kroner in 2022 (US$84 million). Notably, more than 70 percent of the revenue was generated from international markets outside of Sweden.

This growth in paying users equates to approximately 200,000 new subscribers, bringing the total user base for 2023 to 915,000, compared to 715,000 in 2022. Additionally, BookBeat reported a positive EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization) in the fourth quarter. The majority of new users in 2023 fell within the 25 to 34 age bracket. On average, users paid over 1,500 Swedish kroner annually for the service, including VAT.

CEO Niclas Sandin emphasized that a significant portion of the revenue was redistributed to publishers and authors. Since its full launch in 2016, BookBeat has paid out a total of 2.65 billion Swedish kroner to publishers in Sweden and internationally. The average user age, contributing to this revenue stream, is approximately 30 years old.

BookBeat, a competitor of Storytel and owned by Bonnier, has experienced remarkable growth since its inception. Sandin expressed his pride in reaching the milestone of surpassing a billion in revenue, stating that it is a testament to the service’s integration into the lives of over 900,000 users worldwide.

“It feels almost unreal,” said Sandin, “that the service we started building eight years ago has become a natural part of more than 900,000 people’s everyday lives, both in Sweden and internationally. While we increased revenue by 28 percent in 2023, we also achieved a positive result in the fourth quarter.

Looking ahead, Sandin aims for further growth, targeting a more than 20 percent increase in paying users to surpass 1 million and achieve a positive EBITA for the entire year. The company’s performance in January indicates a promising start to the year, with a record number of new users and increased revenue across all markets compared to 2023.

Sandin highlighted the potential for growth in established markets such as Sweden, Germany, and Finland, as well as in emerging markets like Norway, the Netherlands, and Poland. He emphasized the company’s momentum and expressed high expectations for continued growth in 2024.

“We’ve created a momentum that we’ll continue to build on,” the CEO said. “In established markets such as Sweden, Germany, and Finland—where, for example, more than 300,000 of the 5.5 million inhabitants already use BookBeat—we see great potential in attracting new listeners who haven’t yet tried audiobooks.”

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