Audible Australia boss unfazed by Spotify’s new audiobook offering

Speaking to a room full of media on Wednesday, Audible country manager Ben Rolleston seemed unfazed by Spotify’s launch into the audiobook category last month.

“We established the category 25 years ago, and 10 years ago in Australia, so we’ve always been innovating and moving the offering that’s been provided to people,” he said.

Since 4 October, Spotify’s Premium tier subscribers have had access to more than 150,000 audiobooks on the music platform.

The $12.99 monthly subscription fee for individual users comes in at a lower price point than Audible’s cheapest subscription offering, at $16.45, but the offerings are quite different.

While Audible users receive a monthly credit for an audiobook of their choice, as well as unlimited access to a selection of Audible’s curated and exclusive titles, Spotify’s audiobook product offers Premium subscribers a cap of 15 listening hours each month, which can be topped up in 10 hour increments for $11.99.

Users preference will depend on their listening habits, noting that the average audiobooks sits at around ten hours long.

While Rolleston acknowledges that a growing number of competitors were expected to enter the space, Audible was focused on pushing its innovation and delivery, both in terms of experience and the expanding selection of exclusive content that it commissions.

“We have a huge catalog and we continue to invest in local stories, which we think are really important for us in terms of a point of difference.”

Of the platform’s library of more than 750,000 audiobooks, podcasts and Audible Originals, there are currently over 100 locally produced Audible Originals.

New local content set to join the Audible slate in 2024 includes the latest work with Marc Fennell, ‘This is Not a Game’; Sleep Sound with celebrity narrators including Natalie Imbruglia and Cody Simpson; and the second season of Sex Therapy with Chantelle Otten.

Rolleston was hugely optimistic for the future of audiobook listenership, with Audible’s member listening having leapt 18% in 2023. He positioned the entrance of new platforms, like Spotify, as an opportunity for the market and for creators alike.

“But equally,” he said, “we never get complacent, whether it’s about Spotify or any other sort of choice that customers have.”


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