«Thus we brought literature back into the lives of many»- Corriere.it

«Thus we brought literature back into the lives of many»- Corriere.it

NielsenIQ research for Audible photographs the expansion of audio-entertainment. Matthew Gain, Senior Vice President of Audible: "Two thousand new titles a year in Italian"

Almost 3 out of 10 Italians listened to audiobooks and podcasts in the period between March 2022 and March 2023: just under 17 million people. Audio entertainment is growing at a rapid pace: NielsenIQ's research for Audible (a company owned by Amazon born in 1995 in the USA and arrived in Italy 7 years ago), presented in Turin on May 20 at the Book Fair, shows growing figures both for audiobooks, with 10.7 million audio listeners in the same reference period (+5% compared to the months between March 2021 and March 2022), both for podcasts (+7%). The "audio-addicted" are 64% of the interviewees. One in four listen to content at least once a week. Listening for information or for entertainment has become an important part of the Italian media diet, and the margins are still wide.

"Last year we invested 5.5 million euros in original Italian content," says al Courier
Matthew Gain, Senior Vice President and Head of Europe of the company. «We are creating a catalog of more than 2,000 new titles every year». Part of these are exclusive "originals," like the new podcast from Roberto Saviano“Who will I call to defend myself”, on the life of John Falconeand the fiction series “The Sandman”, made with DC, and “Wasterlands: Star-Lord” by Marvel, with the interpretations of Neri Marcoré And Conrad Guzzantiout June 28 (audio drama is among the new genres with the greatest potential).

More deals with publishers

They also multiply audiobooks resulting from agreements with publishers such as Mondadori, Giunti, Feltrinelli, Salani and HarperCollins: «We want to help them grow their audio production skills - explains Gain -, we see it as an excellent virtuous circle. The goal is to make sure that increasingly the audiobook of a new title is published simultaneously with the book: international experiences show that everyone wins».

An example of success, says Gain, is "Spare" by Prince Harry: «When it came out, it skyrocketed in our charts everywhere. And so we know that's a growth area for publishers. Books that work in audio are no different than those that work in print or in ebooks».

Italians listen to the classics

Italians in particular seem to like the classics in audio. At the top of the 2022 ranking is the saga of Harry Potter read by Francesco Pannofino, followed by "The Count of Monte Cristo" read by Moro Silo. On long texts (perhaps) the ears struggle less than the eyes. "Every market is different," he says Juan Baixeras, Country manager for Spain and Italy of Audible. «Harry Potter has always been super important everywhere, but in Italy the classics work great. Including the Italian "modern classics", such as "L'inverno dei Leoni", by Stefania Auci, or "Io uccido" by Giorgio Faletti».

In almost all markets, however, the most listened to titles on Audible follow the trend of books sold. I am complementary products among them, who do not compete, confirms Baixeras: «Compared to 2022 we have seen an increase in people who read both paper and e-books and listen to audiobooks. And many people listen to an audiobook of a book they've already read."

"Bringing books back into people's lives"

Podcasts and audiobooks, with an increasingly wide range of authors and platforms in Italy and an undeniably increased average level of quality, have filled a space-time that has become fundamental for millions of Italians: «It is impressive - continues Baixeras - how we are contributing to create an industry: seven years ago she was small, today she is strong enough. Because we have introduced a habit. Which is intergenerational: our main target is between 25 and 44 years of age, but we also grow between 18 and 25 and partly also in the other groups».

“People love books, they want to read, but sometimes their life gets in the way of reading,” Gain continues. But audio is a great ally. “Through data and customer service many tell us, 'Audible has brought books back into my life”. It's the same for me: when I was in college or before having kids, I read a lot. Now I don't have time to read. But if I can "consume" books when I drive, when I do housework, when I walk the dog, books can come back into my life, and into that of many other people. And this mechanism is really powerful.

May 23, 2023 (change May 23, 2023 | 5:00 pm)

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