The move of Audible into podcasting has taken another step forward as the company has rolled out a “preview” version of its discounted service called Audible Plus. It will provide access to an array of podcasts as well as Audible Originals podcasts and audiobooks that span genres, lengths and formats. The list is said to include 68,000 hours of content and more than 11,000 titles, although that number is expected to grow as more podcasters begin to add both Audible and parent Amazon Music to their distribution.
Audible Plus carries a $7.95 price tag and will sit alongside Audible’s premium credit-based subscription option, which has been renamed Audible Premium Plus. For $14.95, Audible Premium Plus members will have access to the Audible Plus catalog and will also receive one credit a month which can be used for any piece of content outside the Plus catalog, regardless of price or length, it said in the announcement.
Audible has reportedly signed a deal with Wondery to distribute its shows. The Verge says it is also working with Pushkin Industries and the NBA on a basketball podcast. Celebrities including Alicia Silverstone, Michael Caine and Josh Gad are also apparently part of the project, although no details have been announced. The content lineup is debuting free of advertising. The Verge says that includes the removal of any podcast ads already baked into the shows.
Rachel Ghiazza, Head of U.S. Content at Audible, told the Verge that the focus is on “curation” and not having every podcast ever published. That means rather than scrapping RSS feeds to populate its service the company will instead strike deals with podcast publishers. “What makes us distinct or different is really our focus on expertly curated content, and then also that high quality and that bar of narrative storytelling — that stuff with a beginning, middle, and end,” she said.
Earlier this month Audible and Amazon Music began inviting podcasters to make their shows available to the two services. The content licensing agreement that has been sent to podcasters reportedly includes provisions that show hosts would also be limited to include advertising that complies with Amazon’s guidelines. An earlier non-disparagement clause has been dropped.
Audible Plus begins its initial rollout this week to Audible members. New customers interested in signing up to preview the Audible Plus standalone plan will be able to do so beginning August 27.