Audible today announced an exclusive, worldwide, multi-project, multi-year first-look production deal with Higher Ground, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s media company.
This new partnership reinforces Higher Ground’s commitment to audio. The slate of Audible shows will reflect the companies’ shared mission to tell meaningful and entertaining stories that elevate diverse voices and experiences.
“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us. I'm looking forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire,” said President Obama.
“We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell at Higher Ground, and there's no one we'd rather write our next chapter with than Audible. Together, we will keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories—while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them,” said Michelle Obama.
“We have long recognized President and Mrs. Obama’s historic capacity to captivate,” commented Don Katz, Audible’s Founder and Executive Chairman. “We are thrilled to welcome two of the most profound voices of moral and intellectual leadership of our times into the Audible fold, and to be able to elevate President and Mrs. Obama’s singular ability to provide hope and uplifting guidance—needed now more than ever—through their voices.”
Since its inception, Higher Ground, an Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning media company, has brought powerful stories to life. Higher Ground’s hit podcasts, which have resonated with global audiences, include: The Big Hit Show, a series of audio documentaries hosted by Alex Pappademas focused on pieces of popular culture that have defined and changed our culture; Tell Them, I Am, a podcast collection of universal stories from Muslim voices; Renegades: Born in the USA, a series of conversations between President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen: The Michelle Obama Podcast, and the upcoming The Sum of Us podcast series, based on Heather McGhee’s New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.
“For so long we have been inspired by the Obamas. Their passion, curatorial style and ingenuity is reflected in the content they have created across all mediums, as well as the talented team they have assembled at Higher Ground. We are beyond thrilled to collaborate on audio-first original content that highlights their profoundly unique content and vision,” said Zola Mashariki, Head of Audible Studios.
“Audible has found a perfect pairing in our new collaboration with Higher Ground. Our employees and millions of our listeners have already traveled to the south side of Chicago with Michelle Obama in Becoming, and to the Oval Office with Barack Obama in A Promised Land. We’re honored to now develop original work with the Higher Ground team, bringing listeners to new uncharted territories, and expanding their imaginations and awareness – a goal at the heart of all Audible content,” stated Rachel Ghiazza, Audible’s EVP and Head of US Content.
“We couldn’t be more excited to grow Higher Ground’s ability to tell great stories in audio,” said Joe Paulsen, Higher Ground’s head of business and strategy and Dan Fierman, Higher Ground’s Head of Audio. “Audible shares our mission to support artists and take all the right kinds of creative risks and we couldn’t have found a better partner to help us further build the Higher Ground audio platform and tell the kinds of stories we believe in.”
ABOUT HIGHER GROUND
Higher Ground, founded by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, creates, elevates and celebrates stories and voices that bend the arc. Higher Ground produces film and television exclusively with Netflix, and has a first look podcast deal with Audible. The company’s first film release, AMERICAN FACTORY, won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and its first podcast, The Michelle Obama Podcast, is the most listened to Spotify Original to date. Higher Ground’s film releases include BECOMING, directed by Nadia Hallgren, the Oscar-nominated documentary CRIP CAMP as well as the presentation of the feature films FATHERHOOD, starring Kevin Hart, which broke viewing records around the globe, and WORTH, a drama that looks at what role government can play in the aftermath of a tragedy. The company’s television series have received wide acclaim including “Our Great National Parks,” a docuseries that spotlights some of the planet’s most spectacular national parks; the hit show “Waffles + Mochi,” which will return to screens this fall; “We The People,” a groundbreaking short-form series from creator Chris Nee that uses music and animation to teach the basics of rights and citizenship with songs by artists like Janelle Monáe, H.E.R., Adam Lambert, Brandi Carlile and more; as well as two seasons of the widely acclaimed animated series “Ada Twist, Scientist.” The company produced the hit podcast Renegades: Born in the USA, a series of conversations between President Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen and released a New York Times bestselling book based on the podcast. Higher Ground also released Tell Them, I Am, a podcast collection of universal stories from Muslim voices as well as The Big Hit Show, a series of audio documentaries hosted by Alex Pappademas focused on pieces of popular culture that have defined and changed our culture and is behind the upcoming The Sum of Us podcast series, based on Heather McGhee’s New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. Upcoming film and television projects include RUSTIN, a feature film that tells the story of civil rights and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, directed by George C. Wolfe and starring Colman Domingo in the title role; the feature documentary DESCENDANT, the story of the Clotilda, the last known ship to transport African citizens to the Americas to be enslaved, which was produced by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and received the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award: Creative Vision at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival; BLACKOUT a film and TV event adapted from six different love stories; LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND, the film adaptation of the acclaimed novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, written and directed by Sam Esmail and starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke and Myha’la Herrold, and an untitled comedy series from Regina Hicks.