The State of Voice in the News & Publishing Industry

A deep-dive report

Steff Preyer

Business Director

Last Updated : 08/01/2020

Page contents


Introduction to voice in the news & publishing industry

In 2018, there were an estimated 2.5 billion voice assistants in use globally, with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant leading the way. By 2023, that number is expected to triple to 8 billion.

We’re now living in a world where voice assistants are taking part in daily conversations. Voice isn’t the future; it’s already here.

With 20% of UK households and over a quarter of US households now owning a smart speaker, we’re leaving the “early adopters” stage behind us, and the news & publishing industries need to pay attention to keep ahead of this new wave of consumer behaviour.

Some companies such as the BBC and The Guardian have been building voice into their marketing strategies for years, but there is still a significant opportunity for other news & publishing companies to carve out a section of the voice market for themselves.

Voice-activated content represents a new frontier for traditional publishers, allowing them to connect to people at any point in their daily routines. Not just at their desk or on their mobile, but while using smart speakers, on the go (e.g. voice-enabled headphones) and in the car.

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Last month, Google announced an update to their new service in the US. The feature is called “Your News Update”, which they describe as “a smarter way to listen to the news hosted by the Google Assistant”.

With this update, users can ask ‘Hey Google, what’s in the news’ to hear an AI-created news playlist. It’s made up of individual stories, written and recorded by journalists from a number of different news providers. The feature works by analyzing what’s said in an audio file to match stories with people, so that you can listen to stories grouped by topics of interest, rather than a 5-minute feed from an individual provider.

Policy Restrictions


None beyond standard content restrictions, e.g. profanity, promotion of illegal goods, etc.


None beyond standard content restrictions.

Main Takeaways

  • At a website level, news & publishing companies need to focus on filling content gaps by gaining Answer Box results and getting featured in Google News snippets
  • When it comes to creating two-way conversations through actions & skills, there is great opportunity for news providers and publishers to create more meaningful interactions with their audiences through:
    • Flash briefings: Creating 5 minutes of brand engagement in the home each day
    • Interactive stories: Either news or literature, allowing users to control their audio journey
    • A voice-activated extension of existing marketing efforts: e.g. launching a skill to accompany a new book launch, or to engage existing audiences in a new and exciting format



Want to learn more? Get in contact with the Rabbit & Pork team about voice strategy, workshops or building a voice app


Get in contact

Steff Preyer

Business Director

Previously an Account Director at ROAST, Steff joined Rabbit & Pork to help brands understand the potential for Voice Search and defines use cases to drive maximum impact for awareness, retention and revenue.
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