Audible, owned by Amazon, began , potentially indicating a sea change within the industry. The company says it’s “performing limited testing” on a select user base with the ads and that this stage is currently only available to non-paying members, giving them “ad-supported access to a limited set” of titles. . For now at least, paying subscribers seem immune to change.
Ads appear when you listen to traditional audiobooks, podcasts, and original Audible content. The company says vendors were notified of the change and given the opportunity to opt out of advertisements. Audible notes that a maximum of eight ads will play in a 24-hour period, regardless of what you’re listening to. That’s not bad, but sets a troubling precedent for many ad-averse consumers.
As for why this test was taking place, the company’s help page offers only empty buzzwords. “Audible is dedicated to continuously optimizing how we deliver audio programming to listeners around the world,” he says. “From time to time, Audible tests new products and services to gain insight into the changing needs of our customers and partners.” Please clarify!
Does this mean an ad-supported subscription tier is coming? Engadget has contacted Audible for clarification on this decision, but has not yet received a response. We’ll update this post when we do.
Customers have long become accustomed to paying for audiobooks in exchange for a purely ad-free experience, but perhaps that’s slowly changing. Few years ago, for $119 million and, a year later, former chief content officer Dawn Ostroff was looking to integrate ad monetization into audiobooks.