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.


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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