Amazon Polly: Resurrection of the Radio Star

Amazon Polly: Resurrection of the Radio Star


Listen to the complete audio version of the story

People across the world are tuning to internet radio more than ever. In the car or while working out - the number of people who listen to podcasts is growing exponentially. Leading news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post and Guardian are already integrating text-to-speech technologies like Polly by Amazon to capitalize on this trend. Flexible for all content styles and businesses, audio storytelling is a trend you cannot afford to overlook.

Nothing conveys an idea better than two people talking. Depending on the tone, pitch, pauses, and nuances, information disseminated through speech gives the audience a much deeper insight into the subject. Audio storytelling is personal, authentic and captivating and with smartphones and voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Alexa in tens of millions of homes, it is here to stay.

The Economist was the first ever publisher that wanted to make use of the audio storytelling format to give its users the flexibility to listen to content anytime, anywhere. They made an audio edition of the news magazine available over the internet in July 2007. Then, in 2017, The New York Times launched an audio edition of The Daily and by mid-April, it had been downloaded and streamed 20 million times, thus making it the number one audio podcast on Apple Podcasts. Similarly, Time Inc.’s audio version of its daily newsletter, The Brief, was listened to for an average of 12-18 minutes (A normal episode being 20 to 25 minutes long).

What is causing this pivot to digital audio formats

Since mobile listening is becoming increasingly popular because of less free time and the on-the-go ease it provides, we are witnessing a rising demand and appreciation for easily consumable content. If your target audience does not have the time to sit and read through your content, they can just listen to it on their commute instead.

Longform podcast listening over the past 12 years is said to have seen a growth of an estimated 67 million people in 2017

High versatility of audio content is one of the primary reasons that has contributed to its explosive growth. From basic page content to how-to guides and audio-books - you can customize audio content into limitless formats and for all industries.

Digital audio formats not only provide an ease of consumption but they also provide, to people with visual impairment or reading disabilities, easy access to content which they would otherwise find difficult to consume. In a 2018 report published by Audio Publishers Association, it was observed that total audio-books sales rose 22.7% in 2017 to an estimated $2.5 billion, compared to the estimated $2.1 billion in sales in 2016.

Experimenting with digital audio marketing

However, the process of generating audio content has proven to be time consuming and expensive as it included hiring technicians and voice actors, and renting recording studio and instruments. As a result, while bigger media houses were open to investing in audio content generation, smaller publishers could not entertain the idea.

The solution?

Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology. This technology aims to provide a better listening experience which is not only cheap to produce but also easy and quick.

Polly from Amazon is the start - a TTS service which uses deep learning technologies to emulate speech that sounds like a human voice. The accents are configurable up to 53 voices across 26 languages. And if you are an Indian publisher, then you must know that Polly now provides Hindi language support too!

Even The Washington Post hopes to capitalize on the growing interest in audio by integrating Amazon Polly to give its readers lifelike experiences. As per Joseph Price, Senior Product Manager at Post, more than 25 percent of readers who choose to listen to the audio news are listening to the entire content on an average. It is really a great opportunity by Post to keep their users engaged while most organizations are struggling to engage their users for half the time.

Image source: <a href="">Amazon AWS</a>

Polly by Amazon - Give your content voice

Armed with promising data and real time results, Polly can drastically increase your content’s chances of consumption and audience engagement.

Since your consumers will now have the option of listening in, it will increase chances of consumption of your content. This, in turn, will lead to longer page duration and higher user engagement. With an increase in user engagement, there will be more link building and social media sharing opportunities for your content, which will cause your organic ratings to soar.

Why wait

Maximize on this opportunity and give your users a podcast-like experience by integrating this TTS service to your website. Talk to us to seamlessly convert your text stories to audio formats using Amazon Polly