Nova launches interactive Amazon Alexa skill

Nova Entertainment has launched an Amazon Alexa skill, which will allow consumers to explore its live radio product and back-catalogue of podcasts and shows.

In its initial stage, the skill is only for Nova FM, not Smooth FM, and can be activated by requesting ‘Play Nova96.9’. There are plans to launch a similar product on the Google Home in the coming months.

Nova has switched on a skill with Amazon Alexa

The long-term and sizeable investment is a first for the traditional radio brand, and has the potential to eventually provide advertisers the ability to deliver real-time activations. Users will be able to ask Nova what song they are listening to, inform the skill that they enjoy a song, could eventually enter radio competitions. Users can also browse the previous programs and podcasts.

Nova would not provide a monetary figure of its investment. It marks the first time an Australian radio brand has launched a fully fledged skill in market. Nova Entertainment’s competitor, Southern Cross Austereo, launched ‘flash briefings’ for its brands, the Hit Network and Triple M in the last year.

The launch also comes four months after the Commercial Radio Industry makes its RadioApp available through Alexa, which allows users to listen to any station in Australia, whether it is on the AM, FM or on DAB+.

Nova’s head of digital, Fayad Tohme, said Nova had launched the product as it had noticed a good portion of its audience was listening via smart speakers.

“We’ve been looking at market trends and we believe voice experiences will dominate, at some stage in the near future, the audio experience,” Tohme told Mumbrella.

“We know they are consuming radio via these devices. Our aim is also to change that experience for the consumer, not just be the traditional linear radio.”

Tohme has spent almost a year working with Alexa to build out a “seamless” experience for the user. The skill can be activated by asking Alexa to open the Nova app, or simply by requesting ‘play 96.9’.

“The difference is for us, it’s a skill that mixes live radio and audio on demand interaction,” he said.

“The initial stage of this product is audience-centric. It’s all about what the audiences want and we can build these services and then learn from their engagement in the first stage. Then, once we nail the experience, we can start doing more activations for brands.

“We are giving [brands] the opportunity for real time interaction while multitasking. That’s the ambition, and this is what we are building for it.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.