RBmedia makes its debut today, as a producer and distributor of spoken audio content and digital media. The company, headquartered in Landover, Md., and backed by private equity firm Shamrock Capital, is now the “umbrella brand” over audio publishing imprints Recorded Books, Tantor Media, HighBridge Audio, and Christianaudio in the U.S., Wavesound in Australia, and the U.K.’s W.F. Howe. On the distribution end, it is the umbrella over the app-based streaming and download service Audiobooks.com, which RBmedia has just acquired.
In addition to a catalog of 30,000 proprietary audiobooks from its own publishing imprints, RBmedia partners with various publishers and content producers to offer a portfolio of digital media that includes e-books, magazines, and educational titles. It overall catalog spans more than 700,000 titles.
RBmedia content is distributed through more than 10,000 library partners via the RBdigital cloud-based platform, as well as through such consumer resellers as Audible.com. The company will also sell direct to consumers, following the acquisition of Audiobooks.com, which is an app-based subscription service that allows listeners to stream and download audiobook titles to any Internet-enabled device (as well as listen via a variety of in-car entertainment systems).
“Bringing audiobooks.com into this new organization of our brands is a great opportunity to further expand the consumer reach that Recorded Books and our others imprints had,” said John Shea, chief product and marketing officer for RBmedia. “With the incredible growth and tech leadership we’ve seen at Audiobooks.com, this acquisition means we have a very compelling story we can tell authors, agents, and publishers,” he added. “With all these distribution channels in place, we are in a great position to monetize audio rights from publishers and agents.”
Ian Small, general manager of Audibooks.com, is equally enthusiastic about the new arrangement. “Our conversations started mid-last year,” he said. “We have been experiencing excellent growth in the consumer market and the opportunity to join the RBmedia family, where all aspects of the spoken word industry are being covered, was appealing. Having access to in-house knowledge between all the business units will help us accelerate what we can do in the consumer market. The decision was a no-brainer.”
RBmedia currently employs nearly 400 people across all eight of its brands, according to Shea, and total combined revenue for the eight brands is in the nine figures. Shea noted that RBmedia is projecting more than 30% revenue growth in 2017.