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Another Addendum to the Audible Story

Turns out West Cork, created by Eric Nuzum's now laid off podcast-style production team, was the most consumed product on the platform.

In case you’ve been tracking the developments at Audible’s Original Programming division — which, as a reminder, in a recent restructure phased out the team responsible for podcast-style programming led by Eric Nuzum — here’s an interesting, and curious, detail: according to a list of the best-selling Audible audiobooks published by Vulture last week, West Cork, an investigative true crime show produced by Nuzum’s team, was on the very top of the nonfiction list.

Some readers pointed out some possible reasons for this: as part of the output from Nuzum’s team, West Cork was free for Audible and Prime members. It was also well-publicized within the platform and distributed outside of Audible, which some speculated might have driven people towards the show on the audiobook platform.

Which are all reasons that make perfect sense for why the show sits in the very top of the list. But of course, the central question here was the business goal behind West Cork and other shows of its ilk at the time, and how they were thought to have performed in relation to that goal. Was the whole point to expand Audible’s presence as an audio publisher outside of audiobook circles? Was it to increase user engagement on the platform?

These questions might now be moot for some, given Audible’s recent messaging on a new centralizing strategy for its original programming division: to produce audiobooks-only exclusives to be tangibly bought by audiobook consumers according to audiobook-style purchasing constructs. Nevertheless, I find the detail fascinating: the company once produced a highly-produced podcast-style product that doesn’t feel anything like an audiobook, and that product happens to be the most consumed experience on the audiobook platform.

Meanwhile, it looks like Esther Perel’s Where Do We Begin?, another show developed under the purview of Nuzum’s team, is set to return next month, but as an Audible Original in the style of the new audiobook-only offerings.