Tribune Co., the Los Angeles Times' corporate parent, said Thursday it is launching a news app that would read the news out loud to cater to readers who are busy and don't have time to sit down and read the newspaper.
The app, called Newsbeat, would stream about 7,000 stories a day, the company said.
"We've married high-quality journalism from respected reporters and publications with mobile technology to extend its reach and appeal to an audience that is often on the go," said Shashi Seth, president of Tribune Digital Ventures.
Seth told Ad Age that the inspiration behind the app was NPR. Tribune's app allows users to customize the topics they want to listen to. The app, which is free, would be financially supported with radio ads and pull content from 600 U.S. publications, according to Ad Age's article:
Mr. Seth sees the service as radio replacement and like radio most heavily used during commutes or at the gym. That audience has migrated heavily to streaming services for music, so why not news? "You want the audience that is very captive and wants to listen to you and has the time," he said.
The app uses text-to-speech technology and human voiceovers. It is available for Apple and Android devices.
Radio stations have also come up with their own apps. KPCC launched its iPad app last year, which allows listeners to customize the stories they listen to and to read articles. Ken Doctor with the Nieman Journalism Lab said that "more than half of public radio's digital traffic will likely be mobile by 2015."