For anyone working in the publishing industry, you don’t need us to tell you how much the industry has changed over the years–and this was pre-Covid! Throw in two years of a global pandemic, and publishers are still trying to find their footing. There is no longer a ‘one-size-fits-most’ model that publishers can rely on to generate revenue and engage with consumers.
But it isn’t all bad news in the publishing world! Some media companies, such as The New York Times, have experimented with different ways to engage with its audience and create topic-specific content that requires its own subscription. This model is proving successful for The New York Times. One area where the company is investing heavily is in audio. The company is currently building a new audio product that expands on its content for its subscribers. The focus on audio goes beyond its popular podcasts and audio narration, which already reaches more than 20 million users per month. Clearly, the company sees audio as a growth opportunity, and it is investing heavily in this space.
According to the 2022 journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions report, released by the Reuters Institute, there has been rapid growth in audio content. The report states that, “publishers believe that audio offers better opportunities for both engagement and monetisation than they can get through similar investments in text or video.”
Audio narration isn’t limited to bigger publishing companies. Smaller publishers, such as The Nevada Independent, find that offering audio versions of written content not only drives consumer engagement, it also “Allows our stories to be more accessible and allows our readers another option in consuming the reporting that we work so hard to produce,” according to Joey Lovato, the multimedia editor.
The good news for small and independent publishers is that audio narration tools are now an affordable option and can easily scale. The New York Times publishes its audio content using Audm, which relies on humans to read aloud the articles selected for audio narration. This is not an option for publishers with smaller budgets as it takes a lot of time to produce, and it’s expensive. Our AI-audio narration product bypasses human narration, and uses AI-generated voices. Our AI-studio gives publishers the ability to customize the sound and production, so that publishers can create an audio experience that is unique to their brand. What’s more, is because our tool is AI-assisted, it’s economical to deploy for all written content.