As the go-to news publication on the Tablelands, The Express continues to be at the forefront of modern news developments by offering high-quality, accessible articles for their growing audience.
The news cycle is faster and more jammed packed with content than ever before, and so are the lives of those consuming the news. This is one of the reasons that the managing director of The Express Newspaper, Carl Portella, wanted to offer his loyal audience an audio option.
“I came across the platform some time ago, and I thought it could be an interesting thing to add our site to give it a point of difference from other sites. Being able to read the story is one thing but being able to have it read to you is a completely different experience,” Carl said.
After trialling the oral storytelling option through a Canadian based company Ad Auris on their website, Carl said they now have 200-300 people a month using the service.
“The process is all done on the back end of the website, and I chose a female voice with an Australian accent,” he said.
Tina from Ad Auris is passionate about helping newsrooms embrace new forms of storytelling to help make their content more convenient and inclusive.
“We found that for many people being able to listen to audio is critical in accessing content. We’ve worked with publications that have hotlines set up so people with lower literacy can still access the content. But even for other readers, we’ve found that being able to listen to content unlocks a lot of additional time in the day that they can now engage with stories they previously were only able to read,” Tina said.
Having previously only worked with publications in North America, the team at Ad Auris were curious to see whether publications in Australia would want to offer an audio content option for their audiences.
“Typically, we’ve found our early adopter community in smaller newsrooms that focus on serving their community in the best way possible. By working with The Express, we found a partner that is committed to making their content as accessible as possible to their audience,” Tina said.
The options for different voices are massive and in several different languages, with the opportunity to have the same voice read every article or create custom voices for each piece.
“There are over 200 voices in over 30 languages. The fantastic thing about the synthetic narration is precisely the flexibility and scalability that our clients can leverage. We wanted to make sure our tool is as accessible to as many people as possible.”
Tina and the team at Ad Auris are excited about the future growth for their company because increasingly written content is competing for and losing the attention of their audiences to audio and video content.
“We’d love to be the go-to audio solution for listeners and publishers. We hope that listening to stories will be just as regular as reading. We are constantly working on improving the sound of our narrations as well as finding new methods of turning written stories into audio-suited scripts. Hopefully, by making audio content more and more engaging, we can make listening to content more convenient,” Tina said.
Carl is well aware of the evolving way news is consumed and has already started thinking of ways to meet the needs and expectations of his readers.
“We will be looking at in the future expanding on that, so to speak, from a video perspective as well,” Carl said.
Bridging the gap between AI synthetic media and human care, Ad Auris said, it’s all about delivering a one-time set-up for clients so the journalists can focus on writing great, engaging stories.