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Device costs $299, but content is free

By Published on .

A startup venture is planning to use the Internet as a way to deliver audio content offline.

Created by Audio Highway, the service allows consumers to download news, audio books or other content from a Web site. They can upload an hour of content from the computer to a portable digital recorder--a process that takes about 3 minutes. They then can listen on the go, either through headphones or by putting the device near a car radio for replaying over the FM band.

Audio Highway is one of an increasing number of companies using the Internet as a delivery service for ads and content.

Just how successful the Audio Highway concept could become is questionable. The Cupertino, Calif., company expects consumers to pay $299 for the pocket gizmo, an adaptation of an existing digital recorder. It will sell the device through the mail in November an in electronics stores early next year.

$2 PER AD DOWNLOADED

Consumers will get content free--if they agree to put up with 3 minutes of ads per hour. Audio Highway will charge advertisers $2 for each 30-second spot that is downloaded.

"You're getting credit for listening to the ads," said President-CEO Nathan Schulhof, who sold his last venture, TestDrive Corp., a software "try-before-you-buy" service, to R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

Mr. Schulhof said he has deals to buy content from The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time Warner Audio Books, CMP Media and others.

Copyright October 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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