Economist, Stuff, Aftenposten share successful new audio products

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Last year, Karl Oskar Teien presented the Audio Opportunity which has been on my mind ever since. Compounded by his more recent post, “Listeners’ sonic attention is worth fighting for,” I’ve started asking more people about their audio plans. It’s an area that more and more publishers are embracing and with good reason. 

More people are using audio, airpods are changing the game, and it’s a preferred medium for a younger audience. Oh and Karl pointed out that news makes up 7% of podcasts yet accounts for 30% of top episodes. We over-index on attention in this space. What’s not to love?

So I’m making it a focus this year and have started researching, which you’ll see the results of firstly at the upcoming Product Innovation Master Class (you can sign up for the single audio module for US$225 here) and, later on in the year, a full report on audio. 

This post has three examples of how audio is being built into Web and mobile products. Please also consider it a call to arms: If you are working on audio products and would be willing to talk to me about it, please get in touch!

Firstly, let’s stick with Karl and Aftenposten as he inspired this. Aftenposten has developed a synthetic voice to read articles. The results are stunning, and you can see how seamlessly it has been integrated into the page:

This is what is looks like on an article page:

Their mobile experience is even more seamless. Karl pointed out: “The app has the best listening experience as audio just works better when done natively. So in many ways it becomes an answer to our app strategy, too: Apps should do what apps can do much better than Web — and audio is definitely one of those things.”

The Economist has also embraced audio on mobile. In addition to article by article, they allow readers to build their own listening list. It shows which articles are narrated and how long they are — ideal for a commute:

Stuff in New Zealand has developed a new audio unit. I think Nadia Tolich may be the first ever chief audio officer in news (you can hear her talk about building the unit from scratch at the upcoming event; more here). She works closely with their head of product, Ben Haywood, with one product person straddling both teams for consistency.

One of the things they wanted to do is give their podcasts more prominence on the home page. With the help of Ben and’s Deputy Editor Janine Fenwick, they came up with a new design. 

This is simply yet beautifully done in keeping with the aesthetics of the page: 

Stay tuned for more on audio over coming months. 

If you’d like to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter, INMA members can do so here.

About Jodie Hopperton

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.