XM, Audible Partner On Handhelds

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Washington — XM Satellite Radio and Wayne, N.J.-based Audible today announced an exclusive partnership to produce, in 2006, handheld portable radio devices that play both XM’s service and Audible’s spoken-word content.

 XM Orders New Satellite

XM Satellite Radio has awarded Space Systems/Loral a contract for the design and construction of its XM-5 satellite, over former supplier Boeing.

Construction of XM-5 will be completed in 2007.The satellite is intended as a ground spare for XM's in-orbit fleet built by Boeing.

Audible owns more than 70,000 hours of audio programs that can be ported to PDAs and other devices. Its spoken-word content includes newspapers, magazines and audio books that can be downloaded from its Web site.

With the launch of the new handheld portables in 2006, Audible’s content could be downloaded from the Internet onto the XM portable device. The content would appear as an Audible page on XM’s Web site. Users would pay an extra fee for the content.

XM will also produce a show to air on XM about audio books and Audible information, including the newest audio books available for the month.

Conversely, Audible will offer “The Bob Edwards Show” and “Opie and Anthony” on its Web site to users for a fee. Other XM shows may be added in the future. Although the fee has not been disclosed, comparable Audible programs cost $2.95. Monthly subscriptions to Audible, which include multiple downloads, cost about $40.

XM and Audible will “prominently” co-market each other's service, according to an XM release.


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