In our busy lives, we do not have lots of time to read. But we can listen.
However, cassettes are not very flexible. But the Web can be. A company
called Audible (ADBL)
allows users to download content to a handheld device and play it back
I wrote about the company in early November (Audible: Silent for How Long?). I think there is more room on
A substantial amount of the content from Audible is premium; that is, you
pay a fee to download it. You have access to such content as the Wall
Street Journal, New York Times, as well as books, such as from Stephen King
and John Grisham.
Last week, Audible had several major announcements. Of particular
importance was bullish statements about the fourth quarter. Revenues were
about $420,000, which was spurred by a 50 percent sequential increase in the
growth of the company’s premium content. There was also a 54 percent sequential
growth rate in the customer base to 13,300. The company plans to release
its earnings on January 31, 2000.
Another factor was a deal with Microsoft, which agreed to use the Audible
technology for its Reader Software. The Reader software is Microsoft’s new
standard for reading books electronically — such as for PCs and handheld
Interestingly enough, Audible plans to create its own content offerings.
The first step was signing Robin Williams. He will provide a half-hour of
new original programming every week on the Audible site (which is
exclusive). The program starts in April 2000.
The company has been building-up its management team. Recent hires include
Sal Giangrasso, who was the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal
Radio Network; David Simpson, who was formerly with Bell Atlantic as the
senior manager of e-commerce strategy (he is the inventor of wireless
delivery of synthesized speech from text); John Barth, who was the director
of news at AOL; and Warren Cook, who was the vice president of business development at
foodtopia and director of new business at iVillage.com.
Audible is still in the early stages of its marketplace. But by staking
its claim, the company will be in a tremendous position for the future.