TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: New Audio Service From International Herald Tribune

New Audio Service From International Herald Tribune

Jeffrey Goldfarb (
Wed, 12 Jul 2006 20:09:30 -0500

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The International Herald Tribune has launched a new twist on the
podcasting craze sweeping media companies with a service that
instantly generates an audio version of any article in the newspaper.

The IHT, which is owned by New York Times Co., said it was the first
English-language Web site to deliver the service, which it rolled out
on Wednesday with Swedish technology company ReadSpeaker. German
newspaper Waz has unveiled a similar service.

A female voice with a British accent and only a slight robotic stammer
reads the articles with nearly accurate intonation and word emphasis,
though the beta version is not glitch-free as some words were
difficult to understand in a recent test.

The IHT is providing the audio service free at and without advertising temporarily as
it makes changes and improvements, but is seeking advertisers to help
generate revenue.

"It allows us to sell advertising on a scalable basis," said Meredith
Artley, editor and publisher of

"No advertisers are on board yet, but we've got a couple of folks who
are interested," she said. "We would probably put on five to 10
seconds of an audio ad, and we're considering doing it on every third
or fifth article."

Users can either listen to articles on the spot or download them onto
an MP3 player or mobile phone, creating a personalized audio version
of the Paris-based newspaper, which was founded in 1887 and is sold in
180 countries.

The IHT Web site draws 2.7 million unique readers a month.

About 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million
Web users, are downloading audio podcasts, according to figures
released on Wednesday by research firm Nielsen/NetRatings.

"The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young,
on-the-go audiences," Nielsen/NetRatings analyst Michael Lanz
said. "We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as
portable content media players proliferate."

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the
daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at . Hundreds of new
articles daily. And, discuss this and other topics in our forum at (or)

For more news and headlines from the daily media, please go to:

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Patricia Reaney: "Paralyzed Man Moves Computer Cursor Through Thought"
Go to Previous message: Jonathan Marashlian: "The Front Lines - Urgent Regulatory Reminders"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page