Audible to test using Prime Video data for audiobook recommendations as Spotify competition heats up

Amazon has historically operated audiobook marketplace Audible as a separate entity, unconnected to the retailer's broader goals and ambitions. Today, that's changing a bit with the launch of a test that will allow Audible users to receive recommendations about what to listen to next based on their Prime Video viewing behavior.

The company says this will be introduced through a new discovery page feature called "Based on what you watched recently on Prime Video." In this recommendations carousel, Audible users will be shown a personalized selection of relevant titles.

As the feature is being launched into a test phase, there's no explicit opt-in or opt-out at this time. Instead, Amazon says that half of users who have both Audible and Amazon Prime will see the recommendations carousel in their app.

Image Credits: Audible

The recommendations themselves use collaborative filtering to predict other relevant audiobooks for readers based on what they're watching on Prime Video and what other users like them have also listened to. These recommendations may include titles, storylines, microgenres, and authors favored by customers with similar preferences, Amazon tells us.

Audible says the feature was inspired by consumer behavior it had already witnessed. When books were adapted into shows or movies, Audible would see an accompanying rise in listenership for the source material. For instance, in the two weeks after "Reacher" premiered on Prime Video in 2022, the average daily listening minutes for author Lee Child's catalog grew by nearly 80%. Two weeks after "The Summer I Turned Pretty" drove average listening minutes for author Jenny Han's catalog by more than 10x. Other titles, like "Daisy Jones & The Six" and "Red, White, and Royal Blue" also saw increases of 2.5x and 4.3x, respectively.

Image Credits: Audible

However, we think it's more likely a response to finally having some competition in the market for audiobooks, as Spotify has now added 15 hours of audiobooks to its Premium subscription in some markets, with the option to top off hours as needed. The move has made Spotify the No. 2 audiobook provider, behind Audible. In addition, the streaming music service can use its own customer data to make recommendations. For instance, someone who listened to a lot of pop may have been recommended Britney Spears' memoir. TV shows and movies, however, are a more powerful source of recommendations, given they are often adaptations of books.

Audible's ties with Amazon have been strengthening in recent months, as the company's audiobooks were integrated with Amazon's "Your Books" tracker, for example. Now it's using Amazon data to fuel recommendations.

"There is a natural synergy between TV, movies, and books, and we see that clearly in how our customers engage with content on Audible," said Andy Tsao, chief product and analytics officer at Audible, in a statement provided to TechCrunch. "We are constantly innovating to deliver on what our customers want and we’re excited about the potential of this feature to help our listeners dive deeper into the stories and worlds they love in other mediums, and to discover new ones as well."