Pocket Casts, a podcast app, released the latest skills for Amazon’s Alexa that enables listeners to control playback, ask for suggestions, and queue up new episodes with voice commands. This take came amid continued growth in Pocket Casts listeners. In a statement, the company said that with over 100 million Alexa devices now in use and podcast listening on the way to rise, introducing an Alexa skill assists in delivering the simple, yet powerful user experience that Pocket Casts listeners to want.
The new skill recognizes a list of commands, including ‘Play my up next’ feature where user left off in their playlist; ‘Ask for a recommendation’ offers three suggestions based on users’ playback history; ‘Surprise me!’ randomly chooses an episode for the users; ‘Play the latest episode of podcast’, it starts the newest episode of the podcast that users desire. Acquired by a collective group of NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life last year, its owners and cofounders include Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic, who founded Pocket Casts developer Shifty Jelly 11-year back in 2008. Podcasts are among the most popular kind of content consumed on Amazon’s Echo lineup, Google’s eponymous Google Home portfolio, and other voice assistants, according to a study by Edison Research. It also revealed that over 39 percent of smart speaker owners listening podcasts on these devices at least once in a week, while 74 percent reported that they listen directly on their speakers.
In recent years, podcast production and listenership have seen massive growth. Tech tycoon, Apple in last year pointed out that there were more than 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million episodes on iTunes. And as per a study held last year by research firm Infinite Dial, more than 44 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 124 million people have listened to a podcast, which is up from 40 percent in the year 2017.