Audible.com.au launches Australian Originals program

Audible.com.au has announced the launch of its Australian and New Zealand Audible Originals program.

The announcement:

Audible.com.au, the Australian arm of the world’s leading provider and producer of spoken word entertainment, has today announced the launch of its Australian and New Zealand Audible Originals program.

Featuring a diverse line-up of exclusive premium quality productions, these Audible Originals will be created locally, focusing on Australian stories with global Audible audience appeal. Local Audible Originals will be defined by their compelling narrative arcs, ranging from snackable, episodic audio shows to substantial audiobooks, all focused on sparking broader conversations and shining a light on local experiences.  

From investigative non-fiction to scripted drama to comedy, the content will be crafted by Australian creators for a local audience and will complement the 300,000+ audiobooks and audio shows already available from Audible.

Among its debut line-up is an audio-documentary by Marc Fennell about the dark underbelly of competitive chilli eating and growing, and a true-crime series set in the Northern Territory hosted by renowned news journalist Mark Whittaker. Also included is a scripted drama from Nikki Gemmell, author of best-selling Australian classic, The Bride Stripped Bare.  

Audible Originals:

    • It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chili (April 2019) – Media personality Marc Fennell delves into the wild, extreme and cut-throat world of competitive chilli eating and the race to breed the hottest chilli. Learn what attracts people to melt-your-face-off pain and get a glimpse into how people use pain to define themselves and help feel more alive.
  • Blood Territory (Autumn 2019) – When a dubious plea deal buries the truth about Jim O’Connell’s murder, his parents seek to unravel it themselves in this NT true crime show. Follow the story by journalist Mark Whittaker of corruption allegations, a shadowy figure known as The Vigilante and Jim’s convicted killer, who is released from parole and supported by Jim’s parents who are convinced he is innocent.
    • Beautiful (Autumn 2019) – Historical fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, brings to life a reimagined version of Nordic fairy tale, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Juliet will use magical audio narration and production to illuminate the life of the curious troll princess, Hulde, a character forgotten by the original tale.
    • Invisible Women (Winter 2019) – Author Nikki Gemmell writes her first scripted audio drama in the form of this funny and pertinent multicast comedy about female friendship and embracing the next phase of life. This Audible Original explores the experience of middle-age female invisibility in Australia through the eyes of newly-separated Lu, who joins four old schoolmates on an odyssey into the Australian outback. Tension mounts as a school reunion goes awry and old betrayals and estranged parents are revisited.   
    • Ghosthunter (Winter 2019)Sometimes the most terrifying ghosts are our own. Documentary-maker Ben Lawrence follows part-time ghost hunter, Jason King, in the hunt for King’s absent father. Soon, their search converges with a police investigation and a horrific family secret is exposed.
  • Zero Day Code (Winter 2019) – A modern city can feed itself for a week. No more. Set in the near future, with global food supplies under increasing pressure from worsening droughts, floods and extreme weather events, this story by acclaimed writer John Birmingham taps into the power of long-established western mythologies about apocalyptic collapse. Zero Day Code follows a handful of survivors from the first day of the collapse into violent, uncertain futures.
  • John Safran vs Sorcery (Spring 2019) – The renowned author of Depends What You Mean By Extremist and international bestseller Murder In Mississippi, explores modern-day witchcraft and the psychology of belief. In his new series, John packs his bag and heads off to places where Black Magic leads to murder and exorcisms, and asks why in this world of science and rationality are there communities around the world still fearful of dark spirit realms?
  • No Gangsters in Paradise (Spring 2019) – In Western Sydney, a wave of gun violence tests the boundaries of the justice system and holds to question Australia’s treatment of migrant Muslim communities. The story by award winning journalist Mahmood Fazal investigates the tension between Australian law and foreign ideals of young migrants which were justified in wars they thought they had left behind.
  • The Goodbye Party (Summer 2019) – In the early 1980s, the semi-naked bodies of a young man and woman are discovered by a riverbank in Sydney’s leafy North Shore. Inspired by a true cold case, this is a fictional thriller where lies, conspiracies, and memories finally expose who killed the couple and why. This riveting story by Louis Nowra reveals a shadowy world of sex parties, wife-swapping, scientific experiments, bizarre cults, and a possible CIA assassination.

Leanne Cartwright-Bradford, Country Manager, Audible.com.au, said: “Audible is proud to be a destination for creative ideas and we’re committed to working with many of Australia’s best writers, producers, comics and journalists to create unique and innovative Australian stories that elevate the listening experience.”

Ben Naparstek, Director of Original Content, Audible.com.au, said: “Audible Originals are immersive audio experiences that capture the Australian voice, tackle important and timely issues and, most importantly, entertain and inspire our listeners. Audio is booming and we couldn’t be more excited to bring such an array of gripping, funny and insightful Audible Originals to audio lovers across Australia.”  

Globally, Audible has been developing Audible Originals since 2016, and has most recently produced renowned titles including Michael Lewis’s The Coming Storm, Esther Perel’s Where Should We Begin? The Arc of Love, true-crime thriller West Cork, docu-series The Last Days of August with Jon Ronson and the inspirational and motivating audiobook, Take Control of Your Life by Mel Robbins.

The Australian Originals Program announcement comes as new research commissioned on behalf of Audible finds Australians are keen to broaden their minds and to feel inspired by the words they consume in 2019:

  • 80% of Australians feeling their conversations are becoming more negative
  • Aussies are also looking to be positively impacted by the content they consume in 2019, with over half of those surveyed yearning for positivity and inspiration in the words, stories and public figures they come into contact with throughout the year
  • 92% of Australians feel some words have lost their power or are overused, citing ‘fake news’, ‘breaking news’ and ‘climate change’ as the most common
  • 72% of Australians think that some public figures could benefit from using better and more inspiring words in 2019, with politicians most in need of improvement

As part of its ongoing commitment to local content, Audible is seeking professional storytellers and producers – from disciplines as diverse as film/TV, comedy, stage, publishing, journalism, creative technology and gaming – to put forward their ideas for original content.

Source: Media release


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