Amazon's Audible Launches Premium Podcast Service "Channels"

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Are you a fan of podcasts always on the hunt for new quality content to listen to? Then you'll surely be happy to know that earlier today, Amazon's audio books online service Audible launched Channels, a new subscription service which hopes to compete with Apple's Podcasts, currently the dominant force on the market. It requires a monthly subscription amounting to $4.95 and in return offers a selection of exclusive podcasts and audio copies of various written articles. That selection is relatively small in comparison to Apple's podcast service, but Audible, i.e. Amazon is still hoping that fans of this type of media will pay for it because it's ad-free and completely filled with original content and numerous comedy performances. The release of Channels marks Amazon's first serious foray into the podcasts business and certain industry professionals are claiming the company will definitely make some waves here as it's in a position to be both a platform and a creator. So, this venture could potentially end up being Amazon Prime Video or Netflix 2.0, just with podcasts instead of movies and TV shows.

Because of that, it's no wonder that Audible has plans for rapid expansion despite its relatively humble launch. Audible's leadership believes Channels can co-exist with Apple's Podcasts because it currently sees no viable alternative to that service that isn't based on the ad-supported business model. So, it's basically planning on becoming that service. Frankly, it's not a bad way of thinking: latest analysis conducted by Edison Research suggest that podcast listeners are generally better educated and wealthier than average consumers which means they're prime candidates for being subscribers to premium services such as Audible's Channels.

Despite there not being a large premium alternative to ad-supported podcast services, Amazon isn't the first company which started experimenting with this business model in the context of hosting podcasts. Acast and Howl are two latest examples which started a similar practice at almost identical prices, but neither can realistically compete if Amazon starts pumping money into this project, i.e. expanding the library of Audible Channels. Interestingly enough, Audible dismisses all kinds of comparisons with its competitors and is even avoiding the word "podcast" itself as it insists on describing the content of Channels as "short-form audio". Time will tell whether this approach and venture in general will prove to be worthwhile in the end.

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