BBC unveils first voice skill for children’s programming

The BBC has launched its first voice experience designed for children. The BBC Kids Skill features three interactive games starring characters from CBeebies programming to start; more voice experiences and children’s content are expected to be added in the coming months. The content is available on Amazon Echo smart speakers and can be summoned with the command “open CBeebies.”

“Interacting with audio opens up a world of exciting opportunities to explore for the BBC’s content for children,” said Mukul Devichand, executive editor for BBC Voice & AI. “Starting with CBeebies, we are going to release a number of pieces for children over the coming months, working closely with the much-loved characters and stories. The technology is still new and we’re experimenting with what works well and what our audiences really want on these new platforms. High quality content for children is key to the BBC’s public service goals and we are really excited about achieving that in this new medium.”

When the UK broadcaster first stated back in 2015 that it is preparing for an all-digital future, it included a pathway centered on its children’s content. That focus remained when it shared its 2017/2018 annual plan. Voice has been a newer development, but the BBC is keeping pace, with Alexa voice skills available for all of its radio stations and podcasts as of December 2017.

Anna Washenko