• BBC launches first UK interactive voice news service
  • Alexa-enabled devices to offer customised news headlines and easier navigation 
  • BBC voice and AI executive editor: “Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine radio”

voice assistant alexa

Voice technology: News service will launch on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices 

The BBC has released the first UK interactive voice news service in a bid to make it easier and quicker for listeners to find stories.

Audiences will be able to ask Alexa, “give me BBC news,” which will allow themto skip ahead to the stories they’re interested in and have time for, as well as find out more about stories that interest them.

The BBC is introducing interactive news on Amazon Alexa-enabled devices to begin with and will be looking to introduce it on other platforms in the future.

BBC Voice and AI executive editor Mukul Devichand said: “Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine what radio would be like if it were invented today, free from its technical limitations.

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“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.”

The BBC confirmed its voice news service will also offer audiences the opportunity to access additional content from a range of sources including:

  • Specialist pieces Reporting, interviews and features from BBC News’ many specialist reporters and correspondents who add new angles on the day’s emerging stories
  • Flexible bulletins Listeners can get news bulletins at a time and length that suits them – not restricted by the BBC’s schedules, and can explore longer interviews or stories that are forced to make way for breaking news
  • The BBC archive Where relevant, clips and interviews from the BBC’s vast radio archive will supplement current stories, providing invaluable context and voices from the past

BBC Voice and AI head of product Andy Webb added: “A world of opportunities open up once you connect a speaker to the internet and make it interactive. We’re taking advantage of that by combining our world-class content makers and engineers, exploring how this exciting new medium could look and how we can better serve our audiences now and in future.”