Thursday, July 12, 2007

Audio book pioneer MediaBay shuts down

PW reports that MediaBay is ceasing operations and liquidating its assets. The company's audio book club, which it offered via mail, was a leader in the audio book market until the firm decided to go digital-only in 2004. Revenue subsequently dried up and it was unable to gain traction as market leader Audible took off.

MediaBay's decision to move from direct mail to online-only seems to be a key factor in its demise. Revenue fell from $45 million in 2002 to $9 million in 2005. (Audible, by contrast, had a top line of $82 million last year, according to PW.) MediaBay was probably a couple years ahead of its time -- and the iPod boom -- with its decision to abandon snail mail. But fierce competition from Audible surely played a well, as well.

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