and Audible Inc.
Player Will Mark the First Time Consumers
WAYNE, N.J., September 15, 1997 Audible Inc., a new company whose system will enable consumers to download spoken audio via the Internet for mobile playback, and Progressive Networks, the recognized streaming media market leader, today announced a jointly developed solution that will soon make it possible for consumers to quickly download RealAudioÒ spoken audio content from the Web for mobile playback on Audibles new portable, handheld PC peripheral. This will mark the first time that consumers can access RealAudio spoken content away from the PC by downloading compressed digital audio files and storing them on Audibles 3.5 ounce Audible player for playback anytime, anywhere. This new mobility is expected to appeal to the estimated 84 million people who drive alone to work each day, the 50 million people who exercise regularly, and to the more than 20 million Web users who have downloaded Progressive Networks RealPlayers.
The mobile solution for RealAudio brings an added dimension to the Audible system, which will be introduced this fall. Cornerstone to the system is Audibles playback peripheral the Audible player and a vast selection of spoken audio content available for purchase from Audibles Web-based store located at http://www.audible.com. At launch, the Audible.com store will offer more than 10,000 hours of spoken audio programming from close to 60 leading audiobook publishers, business conference providers, and educational and cultural institutions. Programs will be available for purchase, download, and listening using the Audible player with headphones or via any automobile stereo system. The agreement between Progressive Networks and Audible means that RealAudio content can be accessed and played back via the Audible player alongside content from the Audible.com store.
"We believe there is a spoken audio boom afoot in the culture. It involves the burgeoning popularity of audiobooks, continuing education courses, the lecture circuit, public readings, business training and motivational materials, and the innumerable examples of spoken word audio on the Internet," said Don Katz, cofounder and CEO of Audible Inc. "As a result of this alliance with Progressive Networks the tens of thousands of Web sites that stream audio via Progressive Networks server technology will be able to offer listeners the option of quickly taking audio away from the PC for mobile playback. Internet users will be able to program their drive time and exercise time to listen to material they could previously hear only at their computers."
As a result of the agreement, Progressive Networks Web-based audio will be delivered to the Audible player for playback while driving or exercising. The player will hold close to 2 hours of RealAudio (.RA) content. Current Progressive Networks streaming audio providers will be able to easily upgrade to provide their customers the benefits of mobility using current file formats.
"Taking RealAudio content from the computer and putting it in the palms of people's hands via the Audible Player represents a powerful step in the evolution of the Internet," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of Progressive Networks. "Offering listeners unmatched convenience, affordability, and quality of content, this alliance is also one of the first to extend the reach and impact of the Internet far beyond the confines of the computer."
"Audible's introduction of mobile audio via the Internet represents a significant advance for the Web-based content community and its customers," said Tom Phillips, president of ABCNews/ESPN Internet Ventures. "Now consumers of Internet audio programming can be freed of restraints of time and place."
In addition to the availability of RealAudio spoken audio downloads, users who visit the Audible.com Web-based store will be able to purchase spoken audio content from the companys many content partners which include HarperAudio, Random House AudioBooks, Time Warner AudioBooks, Penguin Audiobooks, Stanford University, Harvard University, Jupiter Communications, The Economist, MSNBCs Desktop Video business programming, National Public Radios Fresh Air and Car Talk, and Public Radio Internationals Marketplace and A Prairie Home Companion monologues by Garrison Keillor.
About Progressive Networks
Progressive Networks, based in Seattle, WA, is the recognized leader in the streaming media market. It develops and markets software products and services designed to enable users of personal computers and other consumer electronic devices to send and receive audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web. Progressive Networks can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.real.com.
About Audible Inc.
Audible Inc., based in Wayne, New Jersey, was founded in 1995 to combine the growing popularity of spoken audio programming with the rapid development and commercial viability of the Internet. Audible Inc.s mission is focused on audio content sourcing, development, packaging, delivery, and playback. The company is the creation of a group of veterans from the publishing, consumer electronics, media programming, and multimedia development industries. Audible Inc.s investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Patricof & Co., AT&T Ventures, The Thomson Corporation, and Ironwood Capital. Audible Inc. information can be found on the Web at http://www.audible.com. The Audible.com store is due to open for business at the same address in October.