Earlier this week Amazon announced on the developer blog the availability of a new Flash Briefing Skill API for the UK and Germany. There are already several Flash Briefings available in those markets including Der Spiegel, Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden, and WeltN24 in Germany and the BBC, Sky News and The Guardian in the UK. However, these were developed before the API was made available to the general developer community. Amazon’s Dean Bryen summarized the new offering in his blog post:
With the Flash Briefing Skill API, you no longer need to build a voice interaction model to handle customer requests for the news. When you configure your compatible RSS feed and build skills that connect directly to Flash Briefing, customers will be able to easily access your content via the Alexa Flash Briefing, which delivers pre-recorded audio clips and text-to-speech (TTS) updates.
Flash Briefings Add to the Skill Numbers
The addition of more Flash Briefings will certainly help increase the skill counts in the UK and Germany. Flash briefings account for 24% of the 10,300 Amazon Alexa skills available to U.S. users today. Voicebot recently reported that the UK has fewer than 5,000 Alexa skills and Germany has under 700. Flash Briefings should be able to quickly grow those totals but they are less sophisticated than custom Alexa skills. They typically involve just an RSS feed and as a result, are an easier onramp for many content providers to establish an Alexa presence. They do provide Alexa users with some utility as part of their daily briefing, but provide a less immersive experience with the content brand.
There will be a live webinar on how to build a Flash Briefing experience for UK and German developers on April 13.