Southern Cross Austereo launches Google Home news service

Southern Cross Austereo has launched a bespoke Hit Network and Triple M news and sports briefing service for Google’s Assistant suite.

The news briefings will be updated multiple times across the day on Google Home and are announced by various journalists on the SCA news team, which will build on their current news responsibilities.

Each report can be heard through a command to a Google Home device, with updates six times a day. SCA will look to roll out 16 different Hit and Triple M bespoke briefings across Australia in the coming months.

Chris Derrick, head of digital strategy at Southern Cross Austereo told Mumbrella the move to voice-activation is part of a move towards becoming an audio business, as opposed to a traditional radio business.

“The reality is for our business and the people at the forefront are those journalists creating that content in that we’ve traditionally been a radio business but we need to be an audio business and think about all the different ways consumers can access our content whether that’s getting FM linear broadcast, getting it on DAB, catching up to the radio as a podcast, or whether it’s getting news briefings on voice platforms,” Derrick said.

Derrick said while he is not sure how fundamental voice activation will be to the future of audio and radio, the launch would provide some answers.

“A large part of us wanting to get our content on there, is one to provide access to our audiences that are using those products, but to be able to test and learn as well – To see what the uptake is like, what the consumption’s like.

“It’s so new that there’s no real benchmark anywhere globally on what’s best practice, how to do it best, what are the learnings, what are the upsides or the downsides to the traditional part of the business that we kind of have to do it to learn and see where it’s going to go in the future.”

But he anticipates brand awareness will be very important in the roll out of the services.

“There’s no visual cue it’s really about what’s top of mind for you or what your preferred preferences are. If you’re not a Triple M listener to the radio, you’re probably not going to ask Google Home for Triple M news.

“Having that brand association and brand awareness and being top of mind is going to be very important.”

Guy Dobson, SCA’s chief creative officer hinted to expanding the service into other voice assistant devices.

“With Amazon and Apple soon to join Google in the voice assistant market in Australia, it’s important we make sure Hit Network and Triple M content is easily accessible to this growing market,” Dobson said.

“We’re very proud of the quality of the news our teams are creating and we’re always looking at innovative ways we can deliver our content to listeners, no matter which device or platform they use”.

A commercial partner for the news briefing has been secured but it yet to be announced.


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