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What Smart Speakers Can Mean For News - Issue #81

Smart speakers are becoming mainstream. Is this a real breakthrough we (publishers) should jump onto?
What Smart Speakers Can Mean For News - Issue #81
By Xavier van Leeuwe • Issue #81 • View online
Smart speakers are becoming mainstream. Is this a real breakthrough we (publishers) should jump onto? Or is it more like Apple Watch. A nice gadget, but we can ignore it. Well, it seems much more than that.

Over 150 Million Smart Speakers. And Now What.
Although the numbers are promising, even Amazon is still working out what to do with it. How do you get people to buy things with it? How does it helps delivery?
And news? Not many publishers are making products tailored to smart speakers. The Washington Post makes short audio updates and some alerts. Of course you can listen to podcasts. But it is still hard to find statistics and most suggest that people use smart speakers for…well…listening to music. They are speakers after all.
There is more to smart speakers though. They may be the breakthrough for podcasts. For years, the growth of podcasts has been steady, but without a true breakout moment. The theory has long been that one of the things holding podcasts back has been the relatively fussy need to have a podcast app on your phone or laptop or car and then find or “discover” good shows worth your time. This new report from Edison Research suggests that smart speakers may fix this deficiency. 74% of smart speaker owners who listen to podcasts do so directly from the device and find it easier to find shows.
Apparently, smart speakers are actually stealing (some) share from other media. For example, among new smart speaker owners:
  • 45% are listening to less radio
  • 38% are using their smartphone less
  • 32% are reading fewer magazines and newspapers
  • 29% are watching less TV
We cannot afford to turn a blind eye. One question remains, how are we going to monetize? Advertising (sponsoring) is not great yet on audio. Who knows, may be we should make the podcasts part of the (paywalled) subscription content and increase loyalty. Even if listening is for free now, we cannot afford to miss out.
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Xavier van Leeuwe

This newsletter is about passing on what I found compelling on customer experience, employee engagement or data. I wrote The Relationship Economy. My second book Mensenwerk is due April 2020. I work at See more or subscribe at

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