Audible is testing ad-supported access to select titles for non-members, the Amazon-owned audiobook company revealed on a help page on its website. The company confirmed to AapkaDost that the test is very limited and does not apply to paid members. The news was first reported by Marketing Brew.
The move indicates that the company may be exploring the possibility of an ad-based membership option. Audible declined to comment on specific plans.
The test includes audiobooks, podcasts and audible originals. Audible says the test applies to a limited subsection of titles on its platform. Content providers were notified of the change and given the opportunity to opt out of ads. Users participating in the test will hear a total of eight ads within a 24-hour period. Audible says it has taken additional measures to ensure that advertisements are not heard too often within a short period of time.
“Audible is committed to continuously optimizing how we deliver audio programming to listeners everywhere,” the company’s help page reads about the test. “From time to time, Audible tests new products and services to learn about the changing needs of our customers and partners.”
Audible confirmed it’s running the test in a few different regions, but didn’t specify which ones. We understand that the US is one of these regions, as the help page has been published on the company’s US website.
The company currently offers an Audible Plus membership plan that costs $7.95 per month and includes a selection of Audible Originals, audiobooks, sleep tracks, meditation programs, and podcasts. Audible also offers an Audible Premium Plus subscription that costs $14.95 and includes everything available in the Plus subscription, in addition to one title per month from an extensive selection of bestsellers and new releases. Audible may want to expand its current membership offerings by adding a cheaper, more affordable ad-based option to compete with other audiobook companies, including new entrants like Spotify.
Spotify, which is largely known for music and podcasts, expanded into the audiobook industry in 2021 when it acquired digital audiobook distributor Findaway. Like Audible, Spotify may also want to include ads on its service, as Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff said at the company’s Investor Day event last year that the streaming service was “looking to monetize audiobook ads.” The company has not shared any further details on this front since then.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Audible has explored the possibility of ads on its platform, as the company confirmed a few years ago that it was testing ads, but didn’t go live with them.