Audible Is Expanding To Short-Form Content

by Emma Cueto

Audible: It's not just for audiobooks anymore. Long the go-to destination for audio books, the subscription service Audible is branching out into podcasts and other, short-form audio content. Their new service, called Channels, launched in beta form in April and is now fully up and running. Audible subscribers can access all the content in Channels at no extra cost, and podcast fans can also subscribe just to Channels without paying for all of Audible. So will people go for it?

Audible, which is owned by Amazon, has quickly become a popular service for people who love audiobooks. And it stands to reason that there would be a lot of overlap between those customers and people who like to listen to podcasts. Still, producing high-quality audio content is not easy, especially not if you also want to produce the amount of volume that would justify charging a subscription fee given how many free podcasts there are on iTunes.

Never-the-less, Audible seems to have managed to not only create quality content, but the produce a lot of it. From quirky podcasts like "Damned Spot" about what happens to the buildings or houses after tragedies to original fiction audio stories like "Mortal City" to readings of classic fiction to daily news to comedy shows to celebrity news and interviews and a whole slew of other options, Audible has lined up an impressive array of programs on its Channels service, many of which are Audible originals. And they're planning to keep on launching more.

So how much does this service cost? And will people be willing to pay for it, given how many quality podcasts you can listen to for free?

A full Audible membership, which includes access to their audiobook library, is $14.95 per month; if you just want access to Channels, though, you can have that for only $4.95 per month, which is certainly a small enough amount that many people might be tempted, especially since most of the podcasts on Channels seem to update a lot more regularly than once a month. You'd be getting an awful lot of exclusive content for that $5.

Whether or not people bite, however, it does make a lot of sense for Audible to try branching out. Lots of books subscription services have struggled in recent years to stay afloat, given that the library is a free alternative to their service. Although audiobooks are a bit different in that not all libraries are well stocked with them, it still makes sense Audible would want to offer their customers something unique and branch out into a broader array of services.

Whether or not people will be interested in podcasts you have to pay to subscribe to, of course, remains to be seen.

You can check out a full list of Audible podcasts here, and sign up for a free Audible trial here. There's certainly enough Channels content to keep you busy for most of the 30 trial period.

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