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'It was always about storytelling'

Donald Katz, CEO and founder, Audible, the world's leading seller of audiobooks, talks about its launch in India

Published: Nov 17, 2018 06:48:32 PM IST
Updated: Nov 17, 2018 07:16:31 PM IST

'It was always about storytelling'Actors Radhika Apte (left), Rajkummar Rao (second from left) and Kalki Koechlin (right) with Audible CEO Donald Katz
Image: Chou Chiang 2cproductions@gmail.com

Q How did Audible begin?

It started in 1995, with the concept that any kind of well-composed words could be performed and conveyed easily through the spoken word and cutting-edge technology. The vision of the company was to take the spoken word into mainstream media such as TV, movies and books, and allow actors to interpret them with the sophistication that professional actors would have. It was always about storytelling and bringing the power of language into people’s lives.

Q Why launch Audible in India now?
First, there are a number of people who are aspiring for better lives, which gives us an opportunity. There are enough Indians spending time either in traffic or doing things that are not just about ‘screens’. We’ve always had enough Indian customers paying on the British or US websites, so we knew there was opportunity in India.

Q What challenges do you foresee in India?
The challenge is to make people aware of Audible, and get them to experience it. We have been successful in other countries, so we are optimistic that we will get the same results here too. In fact it is a lot easier now, because earlier no one knew what downloading is, nobody used the internet. Customising our product in different languages was quite exciting. We saw good results in Australia, Canada and Japan.

Q What will be the pricing strategy for India?
Depending on the plan and discounts, the price will be ₹200-300 per month and it is by far the lowest. The good thing about Audible is that for ₹199 you can pick any title, regardless of the duration and it is also available for a 30-day free trial.

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