Nic Newman, Visiting Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism / Chercheur pour le Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
During these last years, different big companies have developed smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo (2014), Google Home (2016) or Apple Homepod (2018). This phenomenon says something about our society: it proves that smart speakers and assistants are going to be extremely present in our lives during the next few years.
Ethnographic studies have shown how people use those devices at home. Currently, about 30 million people use them. This number doubles year after year. Most users are families or seniors. As the users multiply, these smart speakers become faster and more useful.
Most people don’t use them to get informed. In fact, 84% of users use it to play music. More surprising, even: only 1% value them for their news updates. In the same way, only 1 to 2% of podcast listening comes from smart device users, according to publishers’ estimations.
However, some medias are currently putting a lot of effort into the smart devices’ information business.
For example, the BBC has developed many functions to be proposed on their device version. But some other media are still skeptical about the device business. There are diverse reasons behind this holding back: a lack of resources for innovation, a lack of clear path to monetisation, different problems concerning the discovery and the awareness of this possibility, and a lack of data in order to guide development.
Crédits photo : Jules Boudier