Alexa and Hearst Team Up on ‘Voice-First’ Brand

What if publishers started programming the new generation of audio assistants as a kind of hybrid of daily news, on demand radio/podcasting and information resource? That’s the sort of experiment Hearst recently launched for the Amazon Echo with its “My Beauty Chat” voice-first brand. Once the skill is enabled, asking Alexa to open the app offers you a choice of hearing a morning or afternoon 5-10 minute beauty program or a tip of the day. With launch support from sole sponsor L’Oreal, Hearst is programming this project aggressively, with two daily shows (one available before 4 p.m. and the other after) as well as a daily beauty tip.

Why twice a day and at those times? “We looked at behaviors people have in their day,” Chris Papaleo, Hearst’s executive director of emerging technology tells Folio:. Women are in the bathroom in the morning getting ready for the day and at night washing up and winding down. “The beauty regimen occurs in people’s lives at those times,” he says.

Papaleo believes that for all of the challenges traditional media face in emerging platforms like voice assistants, the companies that get in early will be ahead of the learning curve. “We really believe that among the buzzy trends and the platforms evolving, we think voice is certain to be a huge factor for our business,” he says.

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