A news article has always been something that we read and, for the most part, we still do. But what has changed is that our Internet is a lot faster, our phones a lot better, and, coincidentally, we’re a lot busier.
So why are we only reading news articles when we have the means to listen to them instead?
For many of us, just being able to listen to something is so much easier. You only have to look at the rise in podcast consumption, or audiobook sales over the last few years to conclude that audio is playing an increasingly larger role in our everyday lives.
38% of millennials aged 18–34 now listen to podcasts
In the last 5 years sales of audiobooks have doubled
Listening is convenient because you can get on with other things and potentially learn something new at the same time. We do this with podcasts and audiobooks. Why not news articles? Well-structured news articles, on a topic you’re interested in, can be concise and informative. But they lack the convenience of podcasts and audiobooks. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just listen to them whenever we wanted to?
The cost of audio
For a news publisher, producing an audio edition of a news article is breathtakingly expensive. It usually requires a voice actor, studio time, some production, and some clever coordination. Producing audio editions for all of them is pretty much impossible. With razor thin margins in the publishing industry, few publishers can afford to invest tens of thousands of dollars in audio despite the demand.
Audio needs to change
We realised that if news publishers weren’t able to produce narrated audio editions of all their news articles for us to listen to, we’d have to figure out this audio thing for them. That’s when we decided to channel our entrepreneurial spirit and automate the audio process.
We decided to build something that reads news articles to us and we called it SpeechKit.
Machines and magic
News publishers can use SpeechKit to publish audio editions alongside their news articles so that busy (or lazy) folks, like us, don’t have to read them. We use speech synthesis, and a little NLP magic, to compose humanlike audio that, unlike traditional audio editions which use actual humans, cost very little to produce and are available within seconds of an article being published.
Just press play
We knew that we needed to make it as easy as possible for people to listen to an article, opening another app to do so was out of the question. With this in mind, we decided to get news publishers to do the hard work for you.
Now, all you have to do, with publishers that use SpeechKit, is press a play button next to a news article, slip your phone in your pocket and ‘read’ an article — of course, what you choose to listen to is still up to you.
You can listen to news articles on BusinessLIVE, Transfer Tavern, Singularity Hub, The Canary, Daily Maverick, and many more.
Want to add SpeechKit to your news articles? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.