July 7, 2020 / 7:48 AM / a month ago

Lockdowns lift audiobook streamer Storytel subscriber growth

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish audiobook streaming group Storytel exceeded its forecast for growth in paying subscribers in the second quarter as lockdowns due to the pandemic lifted demand for its services.

The company said it had an average of 1,256,500 paying subscribers in the second quarter, an increase of 101,800 customers compared to the first quarter, and just above its forecast of 1,250,000 paying subscribers.

Storytel, which competes with the likes of Amazon’s Audible, said that by exceeding the forecast, it was entering the third quarter - the strongest period of the year for the industry - with “strength and speed”.

“We are also very grateful and proud of the role we have received as the eye of the storm for many people who are seeking relaxation, inspiration, escapism or entertainment in thesetrying times for the world”, Chief Executive Jonas Tellander said in a statement.

Storytel, which operates in 20 countries and is loss-making due to heavy spending on international expansion, said quarterly streaming revenues reached 459 million Swedish crowns ($49.59 million), in line with its forecast of 458 million.

Storytel shares are up more than 50% this year, and close to 90% since mid-March.

($1 = 9.2555 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard

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