Amazon’s video-enabled Echo Show device now features video news content from Seattle area CBS affiliate KIRO, according to a TV Technology report.
Users of the Alexa-powered Echo Show can watch the video briefings by asking the device, "Alexa, what’s the news?" The TV station, a neighbor, relative-speaking, to Seattle-based Amazon, already offers audio news flash briefings via an Alexa skill developed for Amazon’s Echo and Dot devices.
The video flash briefings, which are about a minute and a half to two minutes long, are produced locally by KIRO’s primary production team and news anchors. They are similar to regular TV news briefings, though video images may be altered to fit the Echo Show screen.
This is not the first time a TV station or network has developed a video skill for the new Echo Show. CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC developed and released similar news flash briefing skills for the device within weeks after Amazon made the device available for purchase.
While KIRO isn't the first news flash video skill for the device, what matters is that the new Echo iteration, less than four months old, is drawing skill development from a variety of areas (the Food Network and movie ticket maven Fandango being two others). KIRO's new skill may show smaller, more local-level businesses a way forward for developing their own skills for the Echo Show.
Since the device launched, Amazon, in typical fashion, has not said much about how it's selling, but certainly a key to healthy sales will be Amazon's ability to get the Echo Show embedded into its owners' everyday lives by offering useful capabilities. This will be particularly important as Amazon's Echo product family faces increasing competition from the likes of Apple and Google.
Amazon wants to make its Echo devices indispensable to owners and users. For the original Echo device, that means continuing to improve the platform, while giving users as many reasons as possible to use it as a device for commerce.
For the Echo Show, the key may lie in making the device a gateway to useful, informative or entertaining video content (though it remains to be seen how it might develop further as a mechanism for ordering from Amazon). The recently launched capability for connecting to cameras in a smart home is one way to make the device more useful in a practical sense. But, one way to make it more interesting for information and entertainment purposes is by working with partners that have video content that Echo Show owners will care about.