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Audio + Conversational AI: Powering the Explosive Growth in Audio Content

Here at Native Voice, we believe that conversational AI, and specifically owned voice assistants (OVAs), are the perfect way for audio brands like Clubhouse, NPR, or iHeart Radio to give their listeners the ability to quickly pick up their favorite live show or dive deep and find their favorite content, regardless when it played.

With an OVA, not only can listeners quickly access the live audio content just by calling out the brand “Hey NPR”, “Hey Clubhouse”, they can also discover archived content through the improved navigation and discovery available in an owned voice assistant.

Additionally, with an OVA the audio brands get the incredibly valuable data, analytics, and insights that come from having a direct connection to the listener without having one of the big three voice assistants initiating the listening.

And with this additional data, audio brands can continually tune and improve the listening experience to drive more and more value for their listeners, sponsors, and advertisers.


“Audio content has seen tremendous growth over the last number of years. Podcasting, audiobooks, digital radio, and social audio are all on the rise. ”


These proven growth areas in the audio market are intersecting with the growth of smart speakers, which, in turn, is creating an opportunity for conversational AI to drive deeper discovery and provide frictionless navigation and allow for hands-free access. AI-Based Audio Search & Delivery Platform

Especially interesting is how real-time tagging of audio from companies like Audioburst is increasingly allowing listeners to find live radio or social audio content based on the topic in which they are currently interested. Once tagged, users can then use their voice to access the content as it plays. With the ability to tag talk content, there is a tremendous opportunity to give listeners the ability to find exactly the right content they want at any moment, rather than just dropping into the current live feed. Audio content has seen tremendous growth over the last number of years. Podcasting, audiobooks, digital radio, and social audio are all on the rise. Here are some supporting and encouraging articles proving this fact:

Podcasts – There’s encouraging growth in the number of podcast listeners in the US from 2020 to 2021, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital. The report shows that 57%, or approximately 162 million Americans say that they have listened to a podcast before. The data also showed that 78% of Americans are at least familiar with the term “podcasting.”

Audiobooks – “The audiobook and podcasting markets are growing far faster than the overall media and entertainment market.”, Paul Sallomi, Deloitte. In 2020, Deloitte predicts, the global audiobook market will grow by 25 percent to US$3.5 billion. It is clear that Audiobooks and podcasts are outgrowing their “niche” status to emerge as substantive markets in their own right.

Talk Radio – Talk radio is on the rise, according to this report more than 2,495,000 hours were listened to by 433,000 listeners per week in 2019. Check out the report for more growth facts and figures.

Social Audio – Social audio is a category within social media, specifically audio-based content broadcast and shared on social platforms. Learn more about why this niche is all the rage.

Digital Radio – According to Aris Erdogdu, WorldDAB’s communications manager, DAB now accounts for 39.7% of all listening, and 70% of digital listening.” Check out the data on DAB+ and how it will remain the dominant digital platform — especially in the car.

Triton – Online radio listening on smart speakers is on an upward trajectory. The Share of Ear study shows smart speaker ownership has grown five-fold during the past few years, increasing from 7% of homes having a smart speaker in 2017 to 35% as of the third quarter of 2020.

Audio and conversational AI are also a perfect match since audio content is often consumed when the listener is engaged in another activity -- whether it’s exercising, cooking, or driving. The ability to access great audio content without having to use your hands or pull out your smartphone makes Native Voice very bullish on the continued growth of audio content consumption.

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