SCA has reached an important milestone, notching up more than one million listens to its digital News on Demand on smart speakers and apps, less than two years after launch.
SCA was the first commercial media company to provide news on demand on smart speakers with the service available on Google Home and Amazon Alexa smart speakers and across the Hit and Triple M network apps.
Initially launched in metro markets, during 2017, News On Demand has now rolled out to nine locations including Townsville, Gosford, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.
SCA Head of News & Current Affairs, Natasha Jobson, says, “We are thrilled with this milestone for our News on Demand service, that is proving more and more popular as Australians look to access local news when it suits them.
SCA’s on demand news updates are up 107% year-on-year for our Hit and Triple M networks. Our 65-strong news team from across the country has worked incredibly hard to develop a quality news offering that transforms the way our audience accesses the best local audio news in Australia.”
SCA has also been successful in receiving a $250,000 Regional Grant Opportunity to fund the growth and adoption of on-demand digital formats and will use the grant to explore new content formats, distribution methods and business models and believes there is an opportunity to deliver quality regional news through audio on-demand.
SCA CEO, Grant Blackley, says: “SCA has always valued its localism and delivers local radio news across 67 areas in regional Australia. SCA airs nearly 2,500 news updates each week in its regional radio licence areas and our proposed acquisition of Redwave Media will add another 9 stations to our regional radio network in Western Australia.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time to work in digital news delivery, which gives SCA a clear point of difference to attract and monetise new sources of listenership. We have 900 minutes of news per week developed specifically for smart speakers and we are looking to develop longer form news stories and exclusive interviews for on demand. It also underscores our commitment to a voice activated digital future.”
As part of its regional innovation program, SCA has also appointed two cadet journalists in its regional radio and TV newsrooms.
Luisa Ausage has joined Albury researching and writing stories for the radio news and practicing on-air presentation and has recently started reading voice reports for SCA radio stations across NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Ebony Abblitt is working in Hobart learning all aspects of television journalism including conducting interviews in the field, research, and writing news stories and in field presenting to camera.
She has also written updates and tease lines for the nightly news bulletin.
Jobson says, “We are committed to growing and nurturing our journalism at SCA and the opportunity to take on two new cadets in regional areas helps achieve that aim. Luisa and Ebony are fast learners and have already demonstrated some great skills.”