Who is your target audience?
We’re looking to engage people who use these devices but might not yet be loyal consumers of The Times, while also offering something new and innovative tied to print in order to enhance our relationship with existing audiences. As the technology continues to be adopted, the demographics will change, but we’re most concerned with adapting our journalism into great voice-first experiences.
What content are you most looking forward to hearing?
I’m really proud of everything we’re offering, but I’m particularly excited about the news quiz and the 52 Places Traveler because they both take advantage of voice interactivity. The real potential of the technology is that content doesn’t have to be a fire hose. The listener becomes a participant, using voice commands to navigate and customize the experience. As people take our news quiz, they’ll get feedback and additional context based on whether they get questions right or wrong.
So interactivity is the main advantage of using smart speakers for this content?
Yes. Even when we’re not designing the audio to be interactive, we’re building experiences to respond to specific user requests, which makes it a natural home for short-form and service-oriented audio journalism.
What other Times content would work via smart speaker?
Any kind of journalism that could be translated to sound could work, but we’d really like to showcase a diverse array of voices, form more personal connections and tap into the things our newsroom already does really well that would make people’s lives better and more fulfilled.
Will the audio dispatches from our 52 Places Traveler be filed directly from the road?
Yes, Sebastian will be filing from each destination on the list. We want it to feel as if you’re catching up with a friend who is on an incredible journey. I’m hoping that listening to and interacting with Sebastian will help people form a more personal connection with him. We’ll be piecing together the dispatches as he goes, so at the end you should be able to listen to his whole journey from beginning to end.
Will other Times journalists provide voice-only content?
Definitely. We want to showcase a diverse array of voices from around the newsroom. There are so many unique experiences, beats and perspectives at The Times. We’ll use the news quiz in particular to leverage reporters and editors who know their beats as well as anyone in the world.
Is this content exclusive to the Alexa platform?
“The Daily” will still be available everywhere it had been previously (that is, wherever you get your podcasts), but these new experiences will be exclusive to voice platforms. We started with the Alexa platform, where we knew the majority of our audience was, and we hope to expand to others soon.