BBC unveils interactive news service for voice-activated hardware

The BBC has introduced a new approach to providing news on voice-activated hardware. The broadcaster launched an interactive voice news service designed to let listeners have more control over what stories they hear. It is initially rolling out to Alexa-enabled devices with the main command “Give me BBC News.” The BBC expects to add other voice platforms in the future.

As the news content plays, listeners will have more options to access specialist reporting on stories where they want more depth, or can request hearing more audio based on a short news bulletin. Listeners will also get more flexibility from the interactive approach so they can hear news based around their timetable rather than adhering to the BBC’s broadcast schedule.

“Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine what radio would be like if it were invented today, free from its technical limitations,” said Mukul Devichand, executive editor for BBC Voice and AI. “By making the news interactive on smart speakers, listeners can jump to the stories they need to hear just before rushing out of the house, or, when they have more time, they can delve into a piece and find out more. Delivering the trusted content people expect from the BBC, this new form of audio news comes at an important moment. It will help people navigate through one of the most dramatic news cycles in recent times.”

Anna Washenko