60dB, a Netflix-like digital radio app, launched a new Amazon Alexa skill today. The skill allows listeners to access the same digital content that can be found on the company’s mobile app at home with Alexa. Once users have created an account, they can ask Alexa to play stories from their “Quick Hits” feed or resume shows so they never miss a single word.
The digital radio platform creates a personalized experience by curating content based on a user’s listening preferences. Like Netflix, it will recommend new content for listeners and it also syncs with user’s social media accounts to learn more about what they like, and what they don’t. In addition to traditional news, talk and sports radio content, 60dB streams audio from various video clips and interviews. 60 Minutes and the TV show Late Night with Seth Myers are two examples.
A Ready-Made Audience
This is a smart move by 60dB. Their new Alexa skill will introduce the platform to a new audience and also encourage loyal users to tune in at home. Voicebot estimates there are close to 7 million Alexa devices in use as of 2015, but that number does not reflect the device’s total potential audience reach. A recent study of Alexa users by Experian shows that 83% have two or more people conversing with Alexa in the household. Given that percentage, a conservative estimate would make the potential Alexa audience at least double, or around 14 million. For a startup like 60dB, that is a sizable audience to acquire.
The company knows that in order to successfully disrupt the traditional radio model, it needs to look to the future. And that future is voice. “Radio is only just beginning to change, now that Bluetooth integration is really working in cars and so on,” said co-founder Steven Henn in an interview with Fortune. “But the other thing is Alexa and Google Home. Voice as the next big computer interface is going to be huge. And the killer apps in those spaces are going to be apps that are really useful when people’s hands are busy.”