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Storytell Use Case

Swedish-based audiobooks and ebooks streaming business group Storytel has expanded from its core Nordics market to bring 2 million+ global subscribers ‘thousands of stories for wherever, whenever’. With over 500,000 titles (and growing), its vision is to make the world a more empathetic and creative place with great stories that can be shared and enjoyed by anyone, anywhere and anytime.
Industry: Entertainment/Streaming services
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Customer since: 2020

Favorite features
Global delivery network
Customizable VCL
Enterprise support

Storytel – happily ever after for global audiobook delivery

The Nordic countries have a fine tradition of stories that entertain and inspire diverse global audiences - from Pippi Longstocking to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

So it’s appropriate that Swedish-based audiobooks subscription app Storytel taps into this rich legacy by sharing stories with the world quickly and easily. Expanding from its Nordic base over the past few years, it now operates in several global markets, offering an ever-expanding library of half a million titles to 2 million+ global subscribers.

This growth brought one central challenge – offering subscribers in new global markets the same smooth, seamless content delivery experience which Nordic customers have enjoyed for years.

The challenge

As Storytel outgrew its local Stockholm-based hosting company, it soon realized it needed a CDN to support global expansion plans:

  • Initial penetration into the Indian market revealed that the customer experience did not live up to the high standards it demands.

  • A better global data center and more capacity were prioritized – there simply wasn’t enough bandwidth. At the time, Storytel didn’t have a CDN – all content was streamed from one VM (Virtual Machine) with an NFS (Network File System) attached.

  • Traffic fluctuates daily. For instance, there are lots of evening audiobook listeners, but few engage overnight. In terms of data, 200-300 audiobooks are delivered per second. This constitutes traffic of 4 petabytes per month.

Without a powerful, reliable CDN, Storytel’s ambitious global growth plans would remain in the realms of make believe.

The Quest

Storytel’s Core Experience Staff Engineer Alexander Pochill spends his days supporting the product teams. They constantly strive to improve customer experience via listening, search and other functionalities.

Tasked with finding the ideal CDN, he was aware of Fastly’s prominent market presence and compared it’s CDN to those of two competitors over a thorough 6-month testing and evaluation period.

Once Alexander and his team gathered results, there was one clear winner.

Happily ever after

Fastly CDN delivered on its main purpose with gusto – Storytel now had the capacity to consistently offer every customer worldwide the same high-quality service, customer experience and content.

The many benefits included:

  • Value for money. No other CDN on the market offered the same features and functionality at such a reasonable price.

  • High cache hit ratio compared with other vendors. This meant request traffic was prevented from hitting their origin unnecessarily and unlocked reduced egress charges. Fastly CDN real-time stats revealed rich information on where traffic was being cached, how much of the site was being cached, errors served and more.

  • Responsive customer support, situated conveniently in Slack (which Storytel already used). The speed, accuracy, and technical expertise of support through first and second lines was impressive.

  • A significantly reduced load on origin. Storytel had expanded its data center to accommodate its growth plans and 99% of the data it sent out to the world consisted of audiobooks. With that now handled by Fastly, a considerable amount of capacity was released.

  • The ability to program with VCL (Varnish Configuration Language) as well as other languages supported by Fastly's Compute were also very valuable for executing code quickly at the edge without managing lots of fiddly underlying infrastructure.

The next chapter

Alexander appreciates the way Fastly has achieved key goals for Storytel in a reasonably short timescale. Here’s why he recommends it:

  • Platform resilience and stability – crucial qualities in a CDN.

  • The ability to program edge with varnish or Compute.

  • Default integrations which save time and make work simpler.

  • Support levels. Support situated in Slack aligned well with Storytel’s communications preference.

Stories are a special kind of communication. Intimate yet universal. Portals to different minds, cultures, and dimensions. And with the right technology in place, Storytel can bring the world around their storytelling campfire – providing each reader (and listener) with a spellbinding experience.
Fastly is proud to help bring its uplifting and engaging tales to the world – and excited to be part of the next chapter.

"The problem was a nice one to have: growth. We wanted to scale globally, so we needed to distribute content on a large scale".

Alexander Pochill
Storytel Core Experience Engineer.

"The search experience. The ‘finding your book’ experience. The listening experience. These things are the core of our service: how end users actually consume our content."

Alexander Pochill
Storytel Core Experience Engineer.

"The price was very attractive compared to competitors."

Alexander Pochill
Storytel Core Experience Engineer.

"The resilience and stability of the platform are things most people value when it comes to a CDN. Then the ability to program the edge with Varnish or Compute – which is something not all CDNs have. And the default integrations too – everything’s there to make it very simple for me. It’s all there and it just works."

Alexander Pochill
Storytel Core Experience Engineer.

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