We strongly believe in a quote that says, “great story happens to those who can tell them” (by Ira Glass). So Story Stream will allow all voice-based-creators to upload, and users to stream their content. Currently, professional storytellers/voice actors/ including some radio celebs narrate stories (by w/ great voice acting and bg effects) to create an immersive audio story content for listeners. These creators are publishing their ‘audio-heavy’ work on YouTube and have over a million subscribers that love the content.
What it does
Story Stream allows listeners to stream immersive stories and audio dramas on their Amazon Alexa enabled devices such as Echo devices, and Smart headphones & speakers like Bose QC 35 and Sonos One etc
How we built it
We started off by reaching out these narrators on YouTube and talking to them (sometime in July 2018). We built out back-end on AWS parallelly. Our entire skill is build manually using ASK CLI and developer account interfaces.
Challenges we ran into
During the beta (in Aug 2018), a lot of users had told they hhad difficulty invoking with the skill because of the invocation name 'Oyku Stories' [Oyku being a non-english word, btw, which means 'a story' in Turkish :)]. But thankfully we hadn't submitted the skill for certification and we were able to change the invocation name to 'Story Stream' after th beta
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Three (3) top narrators from YouTube are onboard this project and are uploading their content on our platform
- We got covered by Alexa Skill Review podcast on their Thanks giving episode
- We got picked up in another episode of Voiceity podcast where Nick and Seth discuss 'how cool Story Stream skill is'
- We got interviewed on our journey and how we built the skill on voiciety podcast on the 30th of Dec
- For lot our users, Story stream has become a bedtime routine! And share feedback that reads 'I love this and I can't wait to see it futher developed', "I'm 30, Single female, Story stream someone narrates a story while I fall asleep everyday'
What we learned
- A lot of things. Especially it's been challengin and fun to design voice experiences.
- Keeping thins unscalable/manual allows you to learn and adapt faster, even though it kills you in the process ;) But hey, it could be because both of us have full-time jobs and are building this simultaneously.
What's next for Story Stream
- Diversification of content to include more genres and collections
- Building a narrator's portal which will allow narrator the ability to manage conetne. Upload new episode, view analytics etc.
- Enhancing voice expierence using narrator recorded voice SSMLs for their stations etc
- and more!