Bringing stories to anyone, anywhere, at any time

Storytel

3. Good Health and Well-Being 4. Quality Education 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The innovation we are looking into is the platform for the electronic content; because it is unique in providing unlimited, versatile, and tailored access to its content for all types of readers for an affordable monthly fee. Additionally, what we feel is important in this innovation, Storytel is committed to working toward becoming more sustainable in the future. Storytel is working toward offering a climate-neutral platform of content that promotes wellbeing, learning, and relaxation with a good story. This gives tools to reach SDG numbers: 3 “good health and wellbeing”, 4 “quality education”, 12 “responsible production and consumption”, and 13 “climate action.” They also are committed to offering a diverse, innovative, and a collaborative workplace built on trust, at the same time working towards SDG 8 “decent work and economic growth.”

Authors

Jonas Hoffström

Jonas Hoffström

Linda Mitts

Linda Mitts

Evgenia Khandanyan

Evgenia Khandanyan

Xiaoting Chen

Xiaoting Chen

School

Hanken School of Economics

Hanken School of Economics

Professors

Eva Nilsson

Eva Nilsson

Martin Fougere

Martin Fougere

Innovation

The mission of Storytel is to bring stories to everyone, the platform is meant for all types of readers. It also provides a good option for people who don’t normally read. Nowadays, people don’t have much time to read, everyone has work, housework, hobbies, and other activities that take away from reading. Storytel can read to you and finish one book within one week, compared to you reading a book yourself, which usually takes substantially longer. Also, its innovation in the new unlimited way of providing audiobooks makes access to the electronic stories even easier than before; you can listen to as much content as you wish and it is possible to listen to the stories while doing other things such as sports, taking care of babies, doing all sorts of housework, etc. Strongly believing that everyone deserves to have access to good stories, Storytel considers different people and markets and tailors their content for each specific market.

Here is a closer look into why their way of providing the content is important and innovative: Storytel offers subscribers unlimited access to all 500,000 audio and e-books. In developing countries, for example, India, a subscription costs only approximately €3.4/month, about the same price as one physical book. Storytel provides more opportunities for people from less wealthy countries to receive a quality education and makes life easier in rural areas, corresponding to SDG 3: “good health and wellbeing” and SDG 4: “quality education.” As Storytel’s main services are audiobooks and e-books, it doesn’t consume as much paper as conventional publishers, which is in accord with SDG 12: “responsible consumption and production” and SDG 13: “climate action.” As for its employees, Storytel encourages ideas and embraces differences among people, aiming to create a diverse and inclusive working environment, which corresponds to SDG 8: “decent work and economic growth.” The innovation of Storytel is that: Storytel makes the world a better place by bringing numerous stories to everyone sustainably and at affordable prices with tailored content.

Bringing stories to anyone, anywhere, at any time

Inspiration

One of the factors that inspired the CRM Manager of Storytel in his job is the large customer base of the company, which offers a vast amount of opportunities for CRM. “There are a lot of customers that allow us to try on different things and to do A/B testing for marketing automation", says CRM Manager of Stotytel. Moreover, he enjoys working on the entertainment-based app as it enables him to create something new and exciting. “Technology allowed book publishing to become more versatile”, says CRM Manager. The CRM Manager states that the concept of Storytel supports his values. “I like to listen to books, instead of reading them as I am not an enthusiastic reader.” That is why the Storytel app is a good solution for me”, says CRM Manager.

Overall, the company has been inspiring innovation by organizing different online forums and meetings for personnel to express their opinions and submit their ideas concerning the product. “We have weekly, bi-weekly and monthly meetings where everybody has their say”, says CRM Manager. For instance, Slack has been utilized as an instant tool of various innovation panels where the employees can submit their comments and receive a quick reaction. “If you have any idea, you can send it there and ask if it makes any sense, if it does, then people start to talk about it, and then you start creating something new”, says CRM Manager. The leadership at Storytel is trying to uphold an inspiring atmosphere at work and providing meaningful ways for the employees to develop and contribute to the company.

“I am extremely moved and very thankful for the fantastic response Storytel receives every day from people all over the world who love stories. It motivates and inspires us to stay passionate and innovative and to continuously challenge ourselves to further develop new features and new wonderful reading experiences together with both authors and users. A million thanks to our fantastic customers”, says Jonas Tellander, CEO of Storytel. (Press release 12 August 2019)

Overall impact

Storytel has been growing financially, with a stable 40% YOY increase each year. It has now been launched in 20 markets and has hundreds of thousands of books available on its application. Storytel creates value for all the parties involved, from investors, publishers, and authors to customers.

Currently, there is a huge gap in the markets, some people don’t have access to physical books, some can’t read due to loss of vision, some don’t have time to read, some are just lazy readers who prefer to listen instead. In the short term, Storytel gives these people a chance to have access to good and inspiring stories. Books broaden your horizon and instill knowledge in your mind, it is beneficial for everyone to read or listen to stories.

Storytel, along with other audiobook and podcast applications, has introduced a faster and easier way of providing knowledge to the subscribers. More and more people are getting efficient access to books through the platform Storytel has created. With the growing market of the audiobook, e-book, and podcast, Storytel’s services might shift to only electronic content. As the need of producing physical books diminishes, consumption of paper is reduced, simultaneously making recycling more efficient. In the long term, reduced paper manufacturing will help slow down climate change. Moreover, it will create an active and beneficial circle for the book releasing industry, as more subscribers will be attracted to the grand book selection, and authors will be encouraged to write more once they have the opportunity of gaining more recognition and fame.

Business benefit

Since the subscription-based business model of the company has proven profitable and successful in more than 20 countries, it is clear that the concept is scalable and, through this, the opportunity for global expansion has emerged and is being planned. As annual revenue growth has amounted to 45% and the amount of paying subscribers has continuously risen, Storytel’s future global expansion is more a question of when rather than if. As of September 2020, Storytel has grown to employ more than 400 workers and has a subscriber count of more than 1.3 million paying subscribers and a library that exceeds 500,000 books. These numbers are on the rise as the company’s model has proven to be scalable and entry to new geographical markets is being planned. Furthermore, Storytel has expanded to also publishing new books through Storytel Originals from authors who pitch their ideas directly to the company. This has opened the opportunity for new authors to have a platform to publish and for Storytel to expand their selections and provide exclusive content.

Social and environmental benefit

At Storytel, they have divided their sustainability focus areas into three categories: footprint, brainprint, and fingerprint. Their footprint is the environmental benefits Storytel provides and the goal is to become a climate-neutral streaming service and publisher by 2021. This is to be achieved by partnering with Google Cloud, which uses solely renewable energy, and the partnership was established in 2019. By tracking their air travels and measuring their footprint on a group level, they further aim to improve their footprint internally and engage workers in thinking more eco-friendly. Their brainprint is about encouraging people to read more and thereby educate people. By providing books in more than 27 languages and also inspire people to engage in creative writing through their publishing service Storytel Originals, they aim to grow people’s creative side and make the world a more empathetic place. The fingerprint part takes into consideration the effect the company has on workers, partners, investors, and society. By establishing mutually beneficial partnerships with publishers and content creators, they strive to encourage more partners to join Storytel to become climate neutral and provide their content for anyone to experience and to entertain and educate people.

Interview

Anonym, CRM Manager

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Storytel

Storytel

Stockholm, Stockholm, SE

Business Website: https://www.storytel.com/se/sv/

Year Founded: 2005

Number of Employees: 201 to 500

Storytel is a fast-growing technology-based service provider and publishing group offering digital storytelling solutions. The company was founded in Sweden in 2005 by Jonas Tellander and Jon Hauksson, and its first audiobook was launched in 2011. The goal of the company is to bring stories to consumers in a digital format providing access to streaming audiobooks, e-books, and podcasts. The publishing business area of Storytel consists of multiple publishers. As the biggest audiobook service company in the Nordic countries, Storytel has brought convenience to its subscribers and, at the same time, more exposure and revenue to authors all over the world. The vision of the Storytel concept is to make the world a more empathetic place by transmitting ethical values such as trust, honesty, empathy, and integrity through its solutions.