[SPONSORED STORY] Primedia Broadcasting, the operating company for four of South Africa’s premier radio stations, 702, 947, CapeTalk and Kfm, is the first South African broadcast media company to effectively use the Amazon Alexa as part of bringing the future of radio to listeners.
What is the Amazon Echo?
Amazon’s Alexa-controlled Echo speaker, continues to expand its music, smart-home, and digital-assistant abilities. It’s a voice assistant but capable of much more. Using nothing but the sound of your voice, you can play music, search the Web, create to-do and shopping lists, shop online, get instant weather reports, and control popular smart-home products—all while your smartphone stays in your pocket.
A South African first
The Amazon Echo and other smart speakers are changing the way consumers digest media and ask Google questions. Primedia Broadcasting places significant emphasis in growing digital capabilities and continue looking at the future of how radio will be consumed.
It is with this in mind that the media company has invested research and digital design time to develop appropriate tech (Alexa Skills) so that South African’s (and interested international users) using Amazon Echo speakers can now sample podcasts and live audio from the radio in real time.
The Alexa Flash briefing
Alexa has flash briefings – a short-format audio roundup which is a new frontier in the realm of voice search and streaming. Alexa Flash Briefing also allows the user to pick and choose what they want to hear about, whether it’s news, pop culture, weather, sports, technology, social media information, or more.
Tech forecasters predict that consuming news and information via Flash Briefing will be one of the primary ways people will receive information.
Primedia Broadcasting’s news arm – Eyewitness News (EWN) – EWN is currently the only South African news service available via an Alexa Flash Briefing:
Allan Kent and Karl Gostner, the team at Primedia Broadcasting, who pioneered the project share their thoughts: “Technology shifts have had a significant effect on consumer behaviour. Time spent listening has been limited with the influx of streaming services – quite simply audiences are spoilt for choice with what to choose and how to listen to audio.
Amazon Alexa and the Echo represent a new class of audio devices that are reclaiming a position of prominence in the home and car. Audiences are forming new habits and as a broadcast business we can benefit from the changes in user behaviour prompted by these new voice interactive audio devices. Consumers now ask for the weather from Alexa instead of checking their mobile phone. They get news headlines from Alexa while making coffee instead of from their tablet. They are asking Alexa to play music. We want to see consumers asking Alexa to start up their favourite local radio station from the Primedia Broadcasting stable”.
The future is here
“Radio’s big challenge is finding its way in this new digital world. This thinking is at the forefront of everything we do. Primedia Broadcasting continues to lead the evolution of radio in South Africa. First through its creation of some of South Africa’s biggest mass participation events, then through launching EWN that has grown to be one of the country’s leading news services to innovations in digital content and podcasts. This is the next phase in our commitment to championing modernisation in this sector,” said Eric D’Oliveira, chief executive officer, Primedia Broadcasting.
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