As audiences create new tech habits, are media companies ready?

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


I can move my iPhone close to my HomePod to keep listening to a podcast from the car > airpods > HomePod. It’s pretty seamless. I just move my phone near. On my Kindle, I can stop reading at any given time and pick up the audio version from where I left off. Again, pretty seamless. 

You see where I am going with this?

Of course, we do this now between screens, particularly through logged-in devices where we can track movements and reading/watching habits. But NewsCorp Australia’s insights into trying to understand what users want before they do got me thinking about applying the same principles to screens. 

When our audiences want to move from one platform to another, we will be ready?
When our audiences want to move from one platform to another, we will be ready?

Are we mostly working within the confines of where users expect news? What happens if we move out of that to look at where in the customer day could we add more value?

There is more and more awareness about how much time we spend on screens and how we should consider limiting it. And as we are moving out of a pandemic world where many of our consumers are stuck at home, daily routines will change. Many people have moved. Many will have some sort of return to office, which means a commute. What does this mean in terms of product? Should we be looking at new products to adapt to this? Or building on what we already have with additional features? 

Audio is having a quiet resurgence. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in July 2021, 23% of U.S. adults say they get news at least sometimes from podcasts. This may well grow in 2022 as people get out and about. Podcasts are a fantastic standalone product or can be a companion product. TV shows such as Succession (which I’m sure has a few fans in this readership group) have built a specific podcast to complement the show hosted by one of media and tech’s top reporters Kara Swisher.  

How do we take this one step further? Going back to my initial point, can we allow our consumers to “keep reading” by switching to audio halfway through an article as they step out the door or off a train? 

Of course some publishers are working on this, and companies such as Spoken Layer have grown quickly to meet demand. But the technology in speech and audio is advancing quickly. I know one media organisation that is building synthetic voice. And no, it’s not in English. (This will be presented in the product module at our World Congress in May; more about that soon). 

Aside from this single organisation, I have seen little to allow readers to move from one format to another. If you’re working on it, please let me know as it would be wonderful to start gathering some best practices for the community. E-mail me at

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About Jodie Hopperton

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