Audible announced that it is testing a new feature that will give non-members ad-supported access to select audiobooks in its library. This move is a departure from the company’s previous business model, which relied on a subscription-based service for full access to its entire catalog.
The new feature, which is currently being tested in the United States, allows non-members to listen to a limited number of audiobooks with intermittent ads in between chapters. The ad-supported titles are denoted with a green “Free” label, making them easily distinguishable from the full-access titles that are marked with a blue “Premium” label.
The decision to test ad-supported access comes as Audible faces increasing competition from other audiobook providers, such as Scribd and Apple Books. By offering free, ad-supported access to select titles, Audible hopes to attract new users who might be hesitant to pay for a subscription without first experiencing the platform’s content.
In a statement announcing the new feature, Audible emphasized its commitment to providing “affordable and convenient access to great stories for everyone.” The company also noted that it believes the ad-supported model could be a viable option for users who prefer not to pay for a subscription, but are willing to tolerate ads in exchange for free access to select titles.
Audible has not disclosed how many titles will be available for free, or how long the testing period will last. However, the company has indicated that it will use feedback from users to determine whether to expand the ad-supported feature to other markets or increase the number of titles available.
While some users may balk at the idea of ads interrupting their audiobook experience, the move could prove to be a savvy one for Audible. With audiobooks growing in popularity, the platform’s decision to offer a free, ad-supported option could help it reach a wider audience and solidify its position as a leading provider of spoken-word content.