All India Radio turns to Alexa for expansion
New Delhi: All India Radio listeners can now tune into Amazon’s Alexa to access FM radio, the popular Vividh Bharati and 41 other services from any part of the world.
The public service broadcaster has partnered with e-commerce platform Amazon for the latter’s voice-controlled line of speakers, in a bid to expand global footprint. Echo devices, powered by the artificial intelligent (AI) virtual assistant Alexa, will start streaming All India Radio (AIR) services in the next 10 days, said Fayyaz Sheheryar, director general at Prasar Bharati-owned AIR.
“Now, people across the world can access all local and global services of AIR through a voice command on Amazon Echo. With the changing technology, we are trying to meet the media needs of the consumers. We just partnered with Amazon 10 days ago and it will take another 10 days for this partnership to become a reality. There is no financial implication of this partnership for us,” said Sheheryar, on the sidelines of a press conference unveiling AIR’s tableau for Republic Day.
An Amazon spokesperson did not comment on the development, saying the company has “nothing further to share regarding its roadmap at this time”.
At present, AIR runs 17 local services, including FM Gold, FM Rainbow, Vividh Bharati and 14 other regional language services. through its digital applications and online platform. The broadcaster also runs 27 global services; all 44 services (local and global) will be available on Echo.
In India, AIR operates a total of 420 radio stations (five are community radio stations). AIR’s external services division also broadcasts to more than 108 countries.
Earlier in December, the UK’s public broadcaster British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had also launched some radio shows and podcasts on Amazon Echo. In India, Amazon Echo has a partnership with popular music streaming platform Saavn.
For the year ended 2016-17, AIR earned Rs455 crore in annual revenue, up from Rs447 crore in 2015-16. Meanwhile, the broadcaster will be leading the Republic Day parade for the first time ever on Friday with its tableau featuring Mahatma Gandhi’s maiden broadcast of 1947 and people (farmers and soldiers) listening to AlR.