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News site offers audio version of all stories to readers

IanCarterEditorialDirectorKM (1)A regional news website has launched a new feature that will allow readers to listen to its stories instead.

Iliffe Media has unveiled the audio option for all stories on its Kent Online website, with the rest of its portfolio set to follow.

A widget at the top of each story on the site allows readers to listen via an automated voice.

Iliffe already runs an audio news service in Kent via its kmfm radio station.

Editorial director Ian Carter, pictured, told HTFP: “It’s something we introduced partly because radio is a key part of our business and this seemed a logical next step for us. We are always up for exploring new ideas, particularly when they also open up new advertising opportunities too.

“It’s been received very well, and some other publishers have already been in touch asking how they can replicate it.

“What we need to do now is closely monitor how our readers are using it – we have some targets in mind for the percentage of people we expect to adopt it.

“It’s obviously a good way to increase dwell time across the site too. It launched on Kent Online and will expand across the rest of Iliffe shortly.

“Using an automated voice is never going to be 100pc perfect – our newsreaders won’t be getting replaced by robots any time soon – but this software comes pretty close.”