Why the Financial Times is converting text articles to audio

FT Labs — the publisher’s four-person experimental unit — has been converting its text articles into audio to figure out its readers’ appetite for listening to articles.

The publisher has been using Amazon Polly to convert the text articles into audio, read by artificial voice named Amy. Written articles take between one and three seconds to convert into audio. Both short news items and long-form, evergreen pieces are converted, like a profile on U.S. boxer, Jake LaMotta or a feature on why Lisbon is so popular with tourists.

The publisher has opened up audio articles to 10 percent of its subscribers and is considering opening it up to the remaining 90 percent by the end of the year, according to the company. These are also available in Listen FT, the publisher’s progressive web app.

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