How audio journalism can boost publisher engagement

Gareth Hickey is co-founder and chief executive of NOA, a Dublin based audio-journalism company that transforms articles from some of the world’s leading publishers into professionally narrated, spoken word stories. These audio articles can then be streamed by time-sensitive consumers across their mobile and smart speaker devices, and republished to the digital properties of NOA’s partnering publishers.

“One of the most precious commodities that we have is our time, so if we make it convenient for people to do things… I think there’s a huge market in that for pretty much everything” – Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek, 2012

In the summer of 2013, Gareth Hickey began searching for a solution to a problem that he was experiencing. Almost daily he stumbled across online articles that he had every intention of reading – he just couldn’t find the time. He found a solution in an app called Pocket. It let him save article URLs across my smartphone, work machine, and his personal laptop so that he could read them later. Problem solved. Sort of!

Fast forward to May 2017. That was when his fellow co-founder, Shane Ennis, and he launched NOA – News Over Audio. They wanted to provide a more immediate solution for people who were faced with a busy schedule and as a result couldn’t find the time to read.

For publishers, the engagement rates are hugely attractive. During December 2017, average article completion rate was 83 percent. In short, when someone presses play on a NOA article, they tend to stick around and listen.

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