Amazon Eyeing Added Alexa Revenue Opportunities

For years now Amazon has been attempting to put voice-activated Alexa software in every home via its Fire TV streaming media players and Echo speakers and earbuds.

Now the e-commerce giant wants to increase monetization of original content distributed through Alexa.

Amazon reportedly commands 30% in revenue from every third-party device incorporating Alexa software. The company would like to increase so-called “skill revenue” from content delivered via Alexa that includes music, video, news and podcasts.

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The company has partnered with Spotify for music and is eyeing news and other informational-type content that would be sold through Alexa.

Amazon generated about $1.4 million in Alexa “skill” revenue in 2019 — about 25% of the forecasted $5.5 million, according to The Information, which cited sources familiar with the situation. “Skill” revenue refers to monies generated by add-on features applied to Alexa software from third parties.

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For example, Amazon just introduced its first celebrity voice, Samuel L. Jackson, where consumers — for 99 cents — can hear Jackson’s voice on select commands. Google Assistant offers actress Issa Rae and singer John Legend to their voice-activated Nest devices.

Parks: More Than 50% of Connected Homes Find Voice-Activated Software Appealing

Voice-activated speakers and movie, TV show searches on connected televisions isn’t just a fad.

New research from Parks Associates finds that more than half of domestic broadband households consider voice control of connected entertainment devices to be appealing.

Voice functionality has also become an important buying consideration, with 12% of U.S. broadband households stating it is a top feature when buying a new smart TV.

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“Voice has made a sizeable impact in the smart home and connected CE space, with four out of ten U.S. broadband households currently using some form of smart speaker,” senior analyst Dina Abdelrazik said in a statement. “Since their introduction in 2014, smart speakers have quickly risen in popularity among consumers as an important interface to control and connect the many different devices in the home.”

Voice is extending beyond the smart speaker into smart home adjacencies such as smart appliances, smart doorbells, and smart TVs.

Parks Associates: Method of Controlling TV Via Voice

In 2017, only 3% of CE device users reported using voice commands when watching a movie or TV program; Parks Associates’ latest research finds that almost a fifth of consumers now use voice commands to control their connected entertainment devices several times a week.

“Voice interfacing with the entertainment ecosystem is improving the overall user experience through ease of content discovery and recommendations,” Abdelrazik said. “Custom installers can benefit with the use of voice to connect entertainment and smart home systems in the home via a natural and easy-to-use interface.”

Parks is presenting the findings during a Sept. 14 presentation at CEDIA Expo in Denver.

IHS: 22% of Web Users Employ Voice-Commands to Control TV and Video Devices

Voice-activated consumer electronics in the home is growing in popularity.

New data from IHS Markit found that 22% of Internet users across four markets – the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and India – use voice-command software to operate their TV and video devices, including smart TVs and set-top boxes. Another 30% are interested in doing so in the future.

Next to content recommendations, content discovery and navigation is vital for video services as 20% of video cancellations are due to a perceived lack of available content, according to IHS.

The most common reasons for cancelling video servicesfrom an online survey of 9,636 Internet users in Australia, India, the U.K. and the U.S. conducted in November 2018, included cost, lack of use and lack of available content.

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Indeed, IHS found that the burgeoning amount of content available across media devices puts the user experience at the forefront of device and platform strategies, including discovery, recommendations and navigation.

Voice command functionality represents an increasingly important element in content discovery, as it allows users to not only search for content, but also control the video interface in some instances. Consumers already using voice commands on video are more likely to own connected living room devices, which indicates they may already have access to large content libraries across various services and devices.

 

London-based IHS found respondents using voice commands to operate video devices are more likely to own, or at least have access to, connected devices that allow access to over-the-top (OTT) video. These devices include smart TVs, games consoles and media streaming sticks.

Voice-command use peaks among 25-to-34 year olds, compared to all adults aged 18 to 64. Older age groups continue to use traditional methods of content discovery, and many are not engaging with all the features and content available to them

Content catalogs are a key reason consumers subscribe and engage with video services, so ensuring the right content makes it to consumer TV screens is increasingly important,” analyst Fateha Begum wrote in her report.“Easing navigation and improving personalization are critical ways to increase value to video consumers, so large content catalogs don’t become burdensome to the user experience.”

Begum said voice functionality is a key element for device manufacturers – particularly within home entertainment. The ability for devices to communicate and control other devices has become evident, as brands are increasingly launching proprietary digital assistants, according to the report.

“For TV providers, innovating in the areas of content discovery and recommendations is a means to ensure their content is easy to find, driving greater value and  ultimately reducing customer churn,” Begum wrote. “Pay-TV operators have an advantage over most OTT streaming services, because they can manage the user experience on the set-top box and can ensure their own content is prioritized on the platform.”

 

 

Dish to Add Google Assistant to Hopper DVR

Dish Network Jan. 8 announced it is incorporating the Google Assistant software into its Hopper family of receivers. In the coming months, subscribers will be able to use the Dish voice remote to ask the software to control smart home devices, provide weather and news updates, display photos and more. This new integration builds on the Dish voice remote’s existing ability to control the TV experience, including navigation, search and content selection.

Hopper with the Google Assistant built-in will join Dish’s voice control technology suite, which includes its July 2018 integration with the Google Assistant that requires users to pair Hopper with a Google Assistant device, like speakers, phones and more, to control their TV.

“Our customers love the convenience of voice control, so we’re expanding functionality to make it even more powerful,” Niraj Desai, VP of product management, said in a statement.

With the software, subs will be able to use the voice remote to ask questions and see answers on the screen like the weather forecast or games scores. Users will also be able to control smart home devices, such as dimming the lights or adjusting the thermostat, and relive favorite memories by pulling up Google Photos on the TV screen – all with their voice.

Customers with a voice remote and broadband-connected Hopper (all generations), Joey (all models) or Wally will have access to the Google Assistant. New subs receive the voice remote with all Hopper family receivers at no extra cost; current customers without a voice remote can upgrade for $20.