The ways in which users consume digital content is changing. With the mass popularity of podcasts, users are searching for other ways to consume media through audio channels. The reasons are many why audio options are becoming more popular: it’s easier to multi-task; it’s easier to listen to articles or media content, rather than read; visual impairment; and, it engages a different part of our brains.
With podcasts so popular and ubiquitous, you may wonder why there is a dearth of audio options for news and blogs. Sure, the big media outlets offer audio options for some of their articles, but what about bloggers, or smaller news outlets? Users will sometimes hunt around the web, searching for “the best tool for listening to articles”, but it’s largely up to them to find extensions to convert written text to an audio format.
An issue for smaller publishers and content creators is finding a high quality narration platform that is affordable and doesn’t sound robotic. Additionally, many independent publishers and smaller scale news outlets rely on readership to fund their organizations and platforms. It isn’t enough to simply have an audio version of text, but a way to gain deeper insights into users’ behaviour as they engage with content. A dashboard that provides analytics showing when your audience is more likely to engage with content, how long they engage with published content, and times of day that they engage, can provide invaluable insights that can increase revenue.
Bloomberg started offering text-to-audio on its website and mobile app back in 2018 and quickly noticed a jump from users listening to an average of 2.5 stories per app session to 6! According to an article on Digiday, the text-to-audio content on Bloomberg is now its second most popular media type on its app.
Publishers looking to round out its content by offering text to audio now have options that go beyond Natural Readers and other audio narration extensions. Larger media outlets have realized the power of offering text to audio on its sites, and its now possible for smaller publishers and independent writers to easily do the same.