BBC launches voice-controlled news service for Alexa speakers

BBC launches voice-controlled news service for Alexa speakers
(Image credit: BBC/Amazon)

Today, the BBC has launched an interactive voice news service – the UK’s first – that allows smart speaker owners to more easily navigate the British broadcaster’s news programmes based on their own interests.

The Beeb has been dabbling in voice control experiences for a few years. In 2017, the BBC launched its voice skill for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri speakers (HomePod), and then the corporation created an interactive radio story for smart speakers that allowed listeners to play an active part in the storyline. 

And now it has gone one step further. When listening to the BBC’s news bulletins (“Alexa, ask the BBC for the news”), you will now be able to skip stories, or, by saying “Give me BBC News”, delve deeper to find out more. Bulletins can be heard at a time and length that suits the user, no longer restricted by the BBC’s schedules.

The BBC's interactive voice news service will give listeners access to supplementing BBC archive material too, adding extra background information to the day's headlines.

Previously, voice interaction between BBC content and smart platforms was limited to simply playing live radio, podcasts and news flashes.

In line with the company’s launch strategy for previous voice control projects, the news service has launched on Amazon Alexa speakers with other smart platforms, such as Google Assistant and Siri, set to be supported in the future.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.