NPR is known by many people as a news organization. Morning Edition and All Things Considered are staples of the American news diet. However, NPR and its affiliated organizations also include some of the best storytellers and educators in the audio world. This American Life, Radio Lab, Fresh Air, TED Radio Hour and Freakonomics all call NPR home. In fact, eight of the top 10 podcasts on iTunes have NPR affiliations.
NPR One fuses these qualities into a single app that launched yesterday. Part news, part audio education and talk entertainment, the app provides for news and talk listeners what Pandora pioneered for music. Instead of selecting your news stories a la carte or being served up the undifferentiated broadcast, NPR One seeks to personalize the experience for each listener automatically.
What it Means to Be Pandora for Stories
To me, NPR One is best described as Pandora for stories. It curates your interests and serves up a continual stream of personalized listening from one of the world’s great audio content factories. Music is great, but consumers also want to be informed of world events and inspired by provocative stories. That mix of news stories, feature stories and educational content all served in a personalized stream is an innovation that fits well with emerging consumer habits.
NPR One Emerges as Swell Recedes
It may be paradoxical that NPR One debuts the same week that news accounts report that Swell is being purchased by Apple and has been shut down. Swell was the closest model to what NPR One aspires to be. Interestingly, the Swell app included a great deal of content that originally aired on NPR affiliates and combined it with news from ABC and a variety of third party-podcasts. It was wildly popular with a small set of listeners. NPR One will likely pick up these Swell refugees, as well as a large swath of NPR’s faithful listener base.
XAPP is Part of the Story
We are excited that XAPPmedia is playing a part in the NPR One app. XAPP’s Interactive Audio Service will be used to help listeners connect with interesting content, make donations and engage directly with program underwriters. Unlike the NPR News app where users select each story before listening, NPR One offers continuous listening. Content segments are delivered based on user preferences and previous consumption patterns. This is a format that is increasingly favored while consumers are ultramobile and listening hands free and eyes free.
Ultramobile consumers don’t have access to the mobile device screen because they are driving on their morning commute, exercising, walking down the street or simply have their phone tucked away in a purse or pocket. In these instances, XAPP allows consumers to interact by voice – no fingers required. You can think of it as a Voice ClickTM for audio stream engagement.
We are happy that the most innovative new listening app also includes the most innovative new interactive audio technology provided by XAPPmedia. To check out the NPR One app, download through the App Store or Google Play below.