Conceived by publisher Neal Shenoy as a partnership between MEDIA, a venture development firm focused on building digital media companies, and audio engineering group Bang Music, New York City-based Speakaboos offers "storybook videos" with original animated illustrations and music, celebrity narration, and companion educational activities. Its catalog of fables, fairy and folk tales, nursery rhymes, and lullabies are available for free online viewing or are downloadable at a cost of 99 cents per title. In exchange for distribution and promotion to more than 3 million teachers and school administrators, Speakaboos contributes 15% of its annual revenue to the National Education Association (NEA) and The Creative Coalition.
Founded in 2006 as Stories for Heroes, Speakaboos "aims to reinvigorate the art of storytelling" by infusing the "traditional reading experience with technology and entertainment," says associate publisher Noelle Millholt. Its first release—the Arthur Celebrity Audiobook enhanced CD—featured celebrity readings of stories from author Marc Brown’s Arthur children’s book series. When work began the following year on a website of storybook videos for "children and their caretakers to enjoy together," research into available ecommerce solutions revealed that most traditional payment gateways charge costly transaction fees that would undermine the pay-per-download business model the company envisioned.
VENDOR OF CHOICE: JAVIEN DIGITAL PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
Javien Digital Payment Solutions was established in 2001 with the merger of microCreditCard, a micropayment aggregation facilitator, and Javien, a micropayment company focused on business-to-consumer offerings. From its headquarters in McLean, Va., the 2006 EContent 100 honoree delivers an ecommerce platform for digital content sales to publishing, entertainment, music, games, and other new media companies. Its core product, Javien DPS 8.0, is supplemented by Javien New Media Payment Gateway, which allows merchants to process payments for their content using multiple gateways, and Javien Micropay, a micropayment aggregation engine. (Together, the products are marketed as the Javien Total Commerce Solution.) The company is certified to run transactions through a number of payment gateways, including Authorize.Net, Chase Paymentech Solutions, CyberSource, GlobalCollect, Optimal Payments, and PayPal Merchant Services.