Text-to-speech news app gives commuters a hands-free option.
Tribune Digital Ventures has created an app that provides all the latest newspaper stories as stream audio, which can also be used to create your own personalized radio stations. Newsbeat is free-of-charge, and puts a voice to around 7,000 national and local stories each day using text-to-speech technology.
“Newsbeat offers a new way to experience the best print and online news in a personalized audio streaming format,” Shashi Seth, president of Tribune Digital Ventures, said in a statement. “We’ve married high-quality journalism from respected reporters and publications with mobile technology to extend its reach and appeal to an audience that is often on-the-go.”
Tribune is designed for commuters and anyone else who has the need for a hands-free news experience. Users can control the app using voice commands, as well as customize the content based on their interests and favourite publications. It’s also said the app will be able to learn people’s preferences over time to deliver a better service.
Not all of the articles will be available in audio, just the first few paragraphs. After that, users have to resort to the full text on their phone. There is one caveat however, as explained by Shashi Seth, president of Tribune Digital Ventures, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
The minute a news story breaks and it is determined to be something that a lot of users would be listening to, it will instantly go to a voice artist who will record it, and it will flow into your program in real time.
All of the content and operational costs will be paid for by revenue generated from targeted audio ads within the app’s programming. Purely an aggregator, the company plans to stay away from original editorial content for the time being.