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Can anyone solve the issue of short-form news in digital audio? — The Media Roundup

The dream of customised audio news isn’t working out (at least not yet)

Yesterday we shared the news that McClatchy was trialling pre-roll in the audio versions of its articles. It’s yet another sign that newspapers are taking audio seriously, and builds upon the work of the NYT with its bespoke Audio platform. Despite all those investments, customised automated audio news (try saying that fast) isn’t yet living up to its full potential.

For Nieman Lab Joshua Benton takes a look at a number of “worthy” experiments in serving up short audio news segments, and why they fall short. He notes that while short-form news is easy to skim in text, it’s far more difficult to produce effective bite-size audio news – much less to serve them up efficiently:

“From a news perspective, it’s important to figure all of this out. Most journalism is timely, local, and short – all the things current podcast discovery isn’t particularly good at. The most successful news podcasts, like The Daily, tend to tell a single story at some length rather than several in quick succession. Audio news on smart speakers is a very real thing, but it’s still mostly about an individual brand or an individual show.”

The business of privacy is booming

The market abhors a vacuum – and there’s a perceived need here for privacy-focused alternatives to Google and Facebook. The biggest obstacle to come – luckily for publishers who don’t need yet more platforms to deal with – is the sheer level of entrenchment from those big players. Find out more about all things privacy in our new Conversations episode, out today (see below).

How Immediate Media is growing seven-figure revenues around webinars and podcasts

Immediate Media is one of the publishers that did very well out of the pandemic. Publications like BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine and BBC Good Food saw double-digit growth, while the business as a whole reported a 13% year-on-year growth in August 2021. We spoke to Duncan Tickell, who rejoined Immediate as Chief Revenue Officer in late 2020, about how it achieved that.

Americans now want to read about sports, not politics

Always nice to hear what audiences are interested in, both from a social history point of view and as an indication of where publishers should invest their resources. Now, in addition to climate change, it seems American readers are abandoning politics reporting (and who can blame them).


This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: