To listen, more than to read

It’s no coincidence that the world’s greatest newspapers, strongly committed to the “digital first” strategy, are focusing on the audio format to spread their news, that is, offering them through podcasts and other auditory transmission models.

The new habits of digital users is what’s strengthening such trend that privileges the listening over reading, in a scale bigger or at least equal to that of video consumption.

Both channels, audio and video, or a composite of both, have gained a certain boom among readers and that explains why The Washington Post and The New York Times, to cite two giants of the American press, have incorporated video reports and podcasts to their offers of news and documentaries through paid subscriptions.

The massive usage of headphones and smart speakers among a large number of today’s generation facilitates their preference towards these audio formats, which makes it easier and more practical for them to find about the news at any time of the day, without disturbing anyone in the given case of headphones usage.

To some extent, this trend is an intermediate alternative to the common eyestrain caused by the excessive and systematic exposure to smartphone screens, tablets, PCs and even television.

There are now more podcast formats within digital offerings, a niche that has taken more and more shape after the worldwide decline of radio audiences. Multiplatforms do take advantage of this weakness to attain more public and hence more revenue off these products.

I’ve already quoted how many traditional newspapers with strong national or international presence and influence strive to string along their digital editions some variety of “audio news”, through which they reach the audiences of newer generations much more efficiently, since they are a group way more interested in the listening than the reading.

A bold initiative was been taken by the Danish magazine Zetland, which in 2017 began an experiment through which they made some of their contents undergo a text-to-speech transformation, which as of today could be assumed as a strong paradigm that’s revolutionizing what we know as the printed platform of our social communications, and in a very steadfast manner.

I’ll keep expanding on such experiment in my upcoming reflections.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.