Audible has released an on-demand, unlimited listening service called Channels to offer short-form content alongside full-length audiobooks.
The advert-free service - currently only available to Audible.com (US) subscribers, and non-subscribers on payment of $4.95 a month - was released in beta to some members earlier this spring.
The podcast-like service offers news, comedy and exclusive shows, shifting its focus away from audiobooks, with shorter-form content available both from audio periodicals, such as The Wall Street Journal, Scientific American and The Onion, and in the form of Audible’s own originals.
Originals span subjects of sports, food, comedy, science, politics, mystery and romance in episodic form.
Audible.co.uk declined to confirm whether the service would be coming to the UK, but a spokesperson said: "As part of our ongoing commitment to provide our customers access to the best audio content available, Audible has launched Channels in the US. We are always looking to innovate and continuing to develop our offering to our global membership base."
Some specific examples of programming include "Presidents Are People Too”, discussing character traits of American presidents, hosted by former Daily Show writer Elliott Kalan and American historian Alexis Coe and “Hold On with Eugene Mirman,” in which humorous live stories are interrupted with new details divulged by special guest comedians, such as “Weird Al” Yankovic. Original programming meanwhile includes "Breasts Unbound”, in which science journalist Florence Williams uncovers the “mysteries” of the body part; and “Authorized,” in which authors will share intimate first drafts and rejections, with media personality Ashley C. Ford, as according to Business Wire, adding new original programs would be debuted regularly.
Audible founder and c.e.o. Donald Katz said: "From our origins – harking back to the time when Audible commercialised the first digital audio player in 1997 and launched original short-form premium programming with Robin Williams in 2000 – we have believed the quality and character of everyday life would be enhanced by delivering the culture’s most compelling and artfully performed spoken words.
"Channels is a natural extension of that founding premise, and we believe this new shorter-form service and the exciting original productions to come will become as popular and habit-forming as Audible’s audiobook service. It is a real pleasure to offer Audible Channels to our current and future Premium members as a free benefit.”