By: Karim Mostafa
AudioBasket.com Launches Personalized Audio Service
Just when you thought you couldn’t squeeze another thing onto your computer desktop,
Audiobasket.com introduces an online feature that can keep you listening to personalized
audio news throughout the day.
After incubating for the past year at San Francisco’s Women’s Technology Center (the same
one Hillary Clinton visited last week), AudioBasket.com launched a beta version of its
personalized news service at Internet World in Los Angeles this week.
Along with its debut comes an impressive list of partners, including FT.com, ABCNews.com,
The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, The Associated Press, Bloomberg.com,
Newsweek.com, and Internet.com.
What have all these news organizations signed up for? Essentially, AudioBasket.com is
offering to distribute their content in audio form. Particularly appealing is
AudioBasket’s ability to search audio content and gather into one location all broadcasts
covering any particular subject — for example, the oil industry.
For now, the content providers are handling the conversion of their own print materials
to audio. Then AudioBasket.com distributes the material to other Web sites. The company
plans to eventually build a recording studio to handle the print-to-audio conversion, but
for now, the participating content providers have been happy to handle the task, says
AudioBasket CEO Kim Fisher.
Consumers can download the audio content for free to a personal computer, wireless phone,
personal digital assistant, or an MP3 player. ‘You can wake up in the morning and have
all the content you need already downloaded to your MP3 player,’ Fisher says.
On the distribution end, Fisher doesn’t think many news sites will sign up for the
service. But she expects non-news sites such as Schwab.com to sign up so their users can
get more audio news on a particular topic and listen to it later.
For content producers, AudioBasket.com not only distributes the content, but also
aggregates general data on listening habits. In light of privacy concerns, Fisher stresses that data on individual consumers will not be provided to the affiliates.
AudioBasket.com will create its own detailed profiles on users’ listening habits and use
that information internally to target advertising, the site’s main source of income. For
each hour of content selected, there will be six minutes of advertising. Ads will appear
between clips from differing sources, but never in the middle of a broadcast.
Founded in May 1999, AudioBasket.com has expanded to 40 employees and is moving out on
its own after a year at the Women’s Technology Center. The company is in the midst of
securing financing for future growth.
Karim Mostafa (firstname.lastname@example.org) is assistant editor for
Editor & Publisher Online.
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