BBC Global News has launched a new smart text-to-speech tool on its international digital online platform, BBC.com. It uses artificial intelligence to convert text articles into speech, ‘reading’ them aloud with a synthetic voice. BBC worked with Microsoft to create the new voice and AI software.
The initial content will be part of a series within BBC Worklife called ‘The Life Project’. Its 16-feature articles, which focus on giving readers the tools they need to make life-changing decisions during the pandemic, are now available in audio.
The product will roll out across select articles from BBC feature verticals BBC Culture, BBC Future and BBC Worklife at the conclusion of The Life Project on 31 December 2020. The experience will then be available across multiple platforms.
The product also offers BBC’s commercial partners the opportunity to reach a growing and hyper-engaged audio audience. Along with pre-roll advertising, sponsored feature sections and full sponsorship with additional bespoke commissioned audio content from BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions will also be on offer and with the ability to download in the background, the new function will offer a dynamic advertiser experience.
Errol Baran, global SVP, business development and innovation, Advertising & StoryWorks, said, “As the popularity of audio grows, this new product offers audiences another complementary way of engaging with our content in a format that suits them. That, married with the opportunities available to our commercial partners and the quality of the offering, makes this a unique and exciting new proposition in the market.”