ICNN is partnering with SpeechKit to provide AI audio to community news publishers

By Matt Abbott | 23rd May 2019

The Independent Community News Network (ICNN) is partnering with SpeechKit to help publishers turn their articles into audio files using artificial intelligence. 

SpeechKit turns news stories into audio clips using natural sounding AI voices in over 20 languages and dialects that have been specifically enhanced for written news content. 

Click the play button above to listen to this article.

The audio takes seconds to produce using a WordPress plugin, and once it’s ready readers can use the audio player that sits beneath the headline to listen to a news story.  Publishers may also take advantage of an audio API and an HTML iframe product.

And exclusive to ICNN members, SpeechKit is offering a 30 per cent discount on all their packages.

No need for expensive production equipment or technical wizardry, SpeechKit instantly creates audio versions as they are published in real-time and serves them to your audience wherever they are.

SpeechKit also allows publishers to automate content to Amazon Alexa by building an ‘Alexa Skill’.

30 per cent of all web browsing will be without a screen by 2020.

15 to 24 years olds spend 13.7 hours listening to digital audio per week.

73 per cent of smart speaker owners seek ‘News and Current Affairs’.

Founders, Patrick and James, have been working towards a vision for audio available on every article, where news can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and offers new opportunities for publishers and their readers. 

They say: “Text to speech offers news publishers an instant solution to audio. 

“We’ve seen that by providing audio options publishers can increase time-on-site by up to four times. Readers are more likely to listen to an entire article too. Our completion rates average about 30 per cent across the board of our partner sites, and the average time spent listening is 3 minutes and 44 seconds per story. 

“It’s been a privilege working with a couple of the members of the ICNN already and we look forward to this partnership with independent community news publishers. We are happy that we can provide ICNN members with a 30 per cent discount on all our packages.”

Director of ICNN Emma Meese said: “At ICNN we are always looking for new ways to help our members and when we heard about SpeechKit and saw it in action, we knew it would be a huge benefit to our members and help them expand their audiences even further.”

Oli Hills, CEO of Updates Media – Birmingham Updates, said: “It’s fantastic that SpeechKit and ICNN have joined forces to offer members such a fantastic offer. 

“Birmingham Updates have used SpeechKit since November 2018 and we’ve seen huge uptake and usage by our audience. 

“Firstly, it’s perfect for accessibility purposes for our audience with visual impairments but has also opened up new ways that we can connect with and engage our audience with our content, such as launching our very own Alexa Skill.”

For information on pricing structures, visit speechkit.io, or contact james@speechkit.io to inquire.

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