Skip or hear more: BBC launches interactive voice news for Alexa

The BBC is launching an interactive voice news service for Alexa, allowing people to skip stories or ask for more details about the items they are interested in.

From Wednesday, Alexa-enabled devices can ask “Give me BBC News” and take control of their news agenda, unlike the existing radio-like flash briefing bulletin offered by the broadcaster.

The BBC says its latest effort to reinvent news through the power of voice allows listeners to get news at a time and length that suits them, without the traditional limitations of scheduling.

Additional content will be available from a range of sources, including specialist pieces with extended interviews and features, as well as the ability to dip into BBC archive clips and interviews which supplement current stories.

BBC
(Anthony Devlin/PA)

Mukul Devichand, executive editor for BBC Voice and AI, said the new service will help the public navigate through one of the most dramatic news cycles in recent times.

He said: “Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine what radio would be like if it were invented today, free from its technical limitations.

“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.”

Interactive voice news will be available on smart speakers and other devices using Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant first, before the BBC looks into the possibility of rolling it out onto other platforms in the future.

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