2018 Annual Meeting

Raise your voice


Local newspapers are at an inflection point when it comes to getting on board the fast-growing voice assistant smart home devices platform, argued Jeremy Mims, head of strategy and partnerships for SpokenLayer.

“We are competing against Google, Facebook, Alibaba,” Mims said. “We must win as media and we must win as a unified group. Our differences are far less important than what we have in common—which is that those companies are going to kill us. Kill us if we don’t figure out how to work reliably in this space.

SpokenLayer works with media companies to monetize content they put on smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

More newspapers must jump on to this platform, but with a real business model, Mims said.

“We know what happened when we put our content on the internet for free,” he said. “We know what happened when we let Facebook get hold of our content.”

Newspapers need to be more like record labels, who controlled their content through the development of digital platforms, and “were very stubborn about being paid,” Mims said.

The goal, Mims argued, should be to get all media on the same platform to create a high-quality experience on voice—and get paid for it.

“I’m first one to say, I’m not sure this will work,” Mims said, “but I think this is a hill worth dying on.”