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Audible Watch: August 23, 2018

Original programming proceeds on different fronts.

Gonna still be keeping tabs on the company, which I continue to find endlessly fascinating. Some stories to flag:

(1) Audible has announced its fall slate for its theatrical productions, extending that particular push into original programming.

(2) The company has also partnered with Aaptiv, the fitness app, to produce a guided meditation and workout suite of programming, Techcrunch reports.

(3) The Hollywood Reporter observes that more A-list talent are striking audiobook narration deals these days — even though those arrangements have still to hit TV money levels. I found this chunk particularly interesting:

Audiobook sales totaled $2.5 billion in 2017, according to the Audio Publishers Association, spurred by the increased availability of downloadable content and the popularity of podcasts. “With the proliferation of podcasts, audiobooks and just more venues to take their voices, it’s only expanding,” says WME voiceover agent Cody Irizarry.

As always, it’s all an interconnected audio universe.

(4) Meanwhile: “Walmart is now selling audiobooks for cheaper than Audible does,” Quartz reports, outlining a situation that sees the retailer developing a digital ebook and audiobook store with the book platform Kobo, which is owned by the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.

The bigger picture here tells the story of a Walmart that’s amping up to renew its challenge against Amazon, Audible’s parent company. It’s a chaotic, sprawling, complicated saga, and this is but a mere tiny front.