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Audible Narrows Loss

Updated from 4:58 p.m. EST

Audible (ADBL) posted a loss for the fourth quarter, but it was less than the year earlier's and not as much as analysts had feared.

The audio entertainment company also bested the Street's forecast for its top line.

For the fourth quarter, Audible said Tuesday that it lost $700,000, or 3 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.2 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had anticipated a loss of 7 cents a share.

Audible reported revenue of $23.3 million, rising from $18.3 million in the same quarter last year and beating the $21.9 million average analyst forecast.

"The 4th quarter of 2006 delivered across-the-board improved financial results for Audible," Donald Katz, CEO and chairman of Audible, said in a statement. "We saw a strong seasonal sales lift during the quarter, as well as positive results from focused promotional merchandising efforts."

Audible added 70,400 new "AudibleListener" members during the quarter, a boost of 13.3% over the same period last year.

Sales from Apple's (AAPL) iTunes Music Store contributed 27% of consumer content revenue. Last year, Audible extended its exclusive deal with Apple until September 2010.

Katz also said on a conference call that Apple's new iPhone will be Audible-ready when it debuts in June. During the quarter, 27 new Audible-ready digital media devices were added from companies such as iRiver and Garmin (GRMN), among others.

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