When it comes to media, let’s just call 2017 the year of ear.
I’m suggesting this slightly inelegant term because of a growing body of research that shows audio entertainment is beginning to cut into the time audiences once dedicated to video and text.
The trend is well documented in the U.S., but this is the first year the listening boom has been so obvious in Canada.
There’s such a demand for Canadian audiobooks that Audible, the audio wing of Amazon, opened a Canadian store in the fall. To support it, they’re planning to invest $12 million in producing Canadian authors read by Canadian readers so we can hear our a-boots as they were meant to be heard.
Kobo, the Canadian company for eBooks, also jumped into the audiobook market this the fall.
Over at Accessible Media, which built its business on providing audio products for the visually impaired, they’re also serving the time-starved with products like the Walrus podcast. Even if you don’t have time to read the magazine, you can listen to Lloyd Robertson sound out those long reads in the same trustworthy tone he once delivered the CTV news.
New content for old discontents
But perhaps one of the most telling signs of the audio revolution is the growing roster of sponsored podcasts produced by a Vancouver company, Pacific Content. They’re running on a business model that radio’s pioneers would recognize.
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