Reuters Debuts Two Audio News Services for Smart Speakers and Podcasts

Reuters added audio-based versions of its expansive news services on Wednesday. The new Reuters Audio and Reuters Ready Audio products provide a direct channel for the news hubs archive of raw and edited audio content, respectively, that podcasts and voice assistant-based news providers can attach to their own output.

Audio Wire

Reuters is dividing up its new audio products based on their curation and editing. Reuters Audio offers a library of about half a million raw audio clips both archived and real-time that can be appended to audio news reports and podcasts. Reuters Ready Audio is more polished, comprising news stories explained by Reuters reporters and curated into packages, something like a group of stories you’d hear on an NPR or local radio news report. A subscription to Reuters Connect digital platform provides access to both services for podcasters and audio program developers. Clips can’t be purchased a la carte as of yet, though it would not be surprising if Reuters were to add that option eventually.

Reuters cites its own research showing a continuing uptick in audio content consumption as a central reason for creating the audio services. According to a new study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, a fifth of the most popular podcasts are about the news, and the number of news podcasts rose 32% just last year. Young adults in particular, are likely to get their news from audio sources. The study found that 54% of U.S. adults between 18 and 25 and 41% of people the same age in the United Kingdom listen to podcasts at least once a month, while 62% said they get news from a smart speaker.

“As demand for audio content continues to grow, podcasters, radio producers and platforms need an easy-to-access destination for high-quality material,” Reuters global head of product for core news service Nick Cohen said in a statement. ” With this new audio experience and a Reuters archive that goes back over a century, producers and publishers can now get instant access to hundreds of thousands of clips, whether they are looking for historic moments or the latest breaking news of the day.”

Heard the News

This isn’t the first foray Reuters has made into connecting smart speakers and smart displays with news stories. The Reuters Now flash news briefings cames to the Echo Show in 2017, but the partnership really took off last year when Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant started using Reuters as a source for answering questions about the news. Alexa adds more than 45,000 Reuters stories a month to its database for answering questions on all kinds of current events using the Reuters API and metadata information to find and share the relevant information. Alexa can also apply its machine learning software to its now larger pool of data. And other news services are looking at ways of incorporating voice assistants into their outlets. The BBC launched its own interactive news service on Alexa last year and recently started beta testing its Beeb voice assistant as a tool for accessing news and other content it produces.


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