Flávio Osso’s Ubook has long had the Brazilian audiobook market to itself, with no serious interest from rivals within the country or beyond its borders.
That’s about to change, with Storytel due to launch in Brazil at any time, and Amazon’s Audible said to be preparing for any entrance at some unspecified future date.
But as per an earlier report here at TNPS, Flávio Osso, far from being worried by the prospect of competition, welcomes it.
We have spoken with Amazon and encouraged them to launch Audible here; it is much better to have a 50% market share of a market that is valued at 3 to 4 billion USD than to have 100% share of a market that is valued at 50 million.
With 15,500 titles Ubook has a fine start on any competitors, and now it’s about to up its game.
Most of the current content on Ubook is produced by Ubook in partnership with publishers that hold the print rights to the titles.
But now Ubook is planning to produce original content of its own as well as buying the rights to foreign content – and produce not just audiobooks but also the ebook and print versions for the local market.
Ubook partner and business manager João Campelo explains,
Having unpublished and original content is a way to differentiate ourselves. We will offer full entertainment in audio and text. But never on video. We will not compete with the cell phone screen.
The original content will take the form of 30-40 minute audioshows.
But alongside this Ubook will launch Ubook News, for which Reuters is already on board to provide content. Ubook producers will receive content from the news agencies and turn it into audio within ten minutes, with a human voice, not text-to-speech.
Ubook has reportedly set up with five new recording studios and is putting together a team of writers, audio producers, broadcasters and journalists.
Most significantly, Ubook has been touring international book fairs buying up Brazilian rights to content, with 200 deals already concluded.
The ambition is to produce ten new Brazilian titles in audio, ebook and print formats every month. This process will be accelerated, with a forecast of launching 10 new titles per month, on average. For print distribution POD will be used
Ubook is looking at foreign titles with a proven track record in other markets, with some having sold millions of copies abroad.
The planned IPO in Canada will provide further funds to develop Ubook’s plans, including extending the Ubook operation beyond its core base in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Spain, with 18 further countries targeted, including in Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.