Voice Technologies: The Sound Of Change In Media And Entertainment
The introduction of voice technology into mobile apps, websites, phones and smart speakers highlights the user's keen interest in enhanced device interaction. In recent years, there have been undeniable signs in the media and entertainment world that the industry is ready to embrace and use voice technology.
According to Voicebot.ai, the number of voice assistant users on smartphones grew by 11% between 2018 and 2020, while daily active users increased by 23%. In January 2021, the company also found that the installed base of smart speakers in the US had reached 90.7 million, the equivalent of a third of the adult population.
Audience acceptance of the voice has grown even faster than smartphone ownership. Voice commerce is predicted to reach $80 billion by 2023, with usage growing rapidly as it becomes a convenient way to access video content.
Comcast led the way with the introduction of the Xfinity X1 remote control in 2015. As the number of viewing options increases, streamers, broadcasters and cable companies are finding use for voice commands and developing new voice control capabilities to help customers search and find their programming.
Today, we see voice functionality become the standard for TV remotes, with voice apps available on the iOS and Android platforms.
Juniper Research predicted in 2018 that “the fastest growing voice service category in the next few years will be non-smart speakers. These will be smart TVs.” And by the end of 2020, Smart TVs were already number one in the smart home adoption category, with about 37.9% of US households including them in their daily lives.
As more and more technologies become available with voice add-ons, the line between home voice assistants and mobile devices is blurring. Voice texting in the car, searching for content and resources with headphones, accessing marketplace shopping lists, all of these and dozens of other uses are driving behavioral changes that are important for the development of media and entertainment, the work of marketers and content creators, for interaction, search, content discovery and, of course, for user retention.
In 2014, when the first Amazon Echo hit the market, a partnership between NPR and Amazon allowed users who asked Alexa to play the news to hear NPR's most recent hourly newscast. Now, years later, this has expanded into the automatic delivery of a continuous listening stream.
Pandora was one of the first to start testing interactive voice ads. These new ad formats were ideal for people involved in activities that kept their hands busy, such as cooking, driving, or cleaning the house. The success of campaigns was measured using a new indicator - STR.
Spotify emerged and gained popularity solely as an audio service. The company's March 2021 acquisition of Betty Labs, makers of the live social audio app Locker Room, marked its transformation as a go-between for fans and their idols, from musicians to sports teams. The platform provides the ability to process subscriptions, sell products, or transition to a pay-per-view model.
Headphones are another area of focus for the voice technology industry. In 2020, spending grew by about 124% to $32.7 billion and is expected to rise to $39.2 billion in 2021, according to Gartner. This growth is largely due to the fact that while working remotely, users are upgrading their headphones for video calls, while others are buying headphones to use with their smartphones.
Voice technologies are rapidly evolving and offer the media, entertainment, advertising and other industries a wide range of opportunities to create value by creating accessible ways to interact with audiences, connecting communities and maximizing the value of existing digital assets through voice interfaces and platforms.