Today, the newsletter featured a story about how BBC Good Food, one of the several magazines published under the BBC brand, gathered voice data to develop its Amazon Alexa skill.
I think that Marcela Kunova on journalism.co.uk makes a good point in writing about the process: Smart speakers are still an evolving space and that user behaviour and the technology itself is still a moving target.
I’d go one step further. I think that voice interfaces are still in their infancy. I swear a lot at Alexa and Siri, and the voice eco-system is still in its infancy. At the public broadcasting group that I work at, we have already had issues with getting our work to audiences on smart speakers. Reaching audiences on Alexa is mediated through NPR, our national network, and TuneIn, one of the several audio discovery services. TuneIn’s process for managing our stream has been opaque and very informal for such a critical distribution service.
At the moment BBC Good Food is using what data it can get. The report mentioned that of the 90 m searches done through its website, “only a few hundred users who access the content through Alexa skill.”
But they are using some of the same statistics that they use for web search to guide the development of the Alexa skill: “volume of use,
Apart from how they analytics that they are using, the other thing I found interesting in their process is how they are trying to get information about anonymous users of their digital services by pushing users to other digital content through their skill.
Williams said that people looking to develop an Alexa skill shouldn’t focus on creating a perfect product because one doesn’t exist yet. She said its more important to invest in analytics to improve the product as user tastes and engagement with smart speakers change.
Most read this week
In the past week, here are the stories that subscribers to my newsletter have been reading the most:
- ‘Betrayed by an app she had never heard of’ – How TrueCaller is endangering journalists, Privacy International
- Facebook’s engagement is sinking with no end in sight, Mashable
- The EJC is seeking new colleagues, EJC
- Times titles halve digital subscriber churn with tailored emails from AI named ‘James’, Press Gazette
- Arkansas newspaper gambles on free iPads as the future, Associated Press
Have a great weekend, and if you have a good media business story, especially from outside the US and Europe, please send it along to @kevglobal on Twitter.