Back in April when Microsoft and Facebook became the biggest tech giants to open their chat app platforms to developers and businesses, CNN was one of the first news organization to launch a chatbot on Facebook Messenger.
Today CNN joined the Kik Bot Shop, one of the first news organizations to do so.
When using the CNN bot, you can choose to read top stories or stories by topic, but the goal is to train the CNN bot to be smarter. The more you choose stories you like, the smarter the bot gets about your preferences are and what you want to read. Choose “Save” to tell the bot what you like. Choose the “Next” button to skip stories you don’t care to read.
CNN also created an account on Japanese chat app Line in April and will explore other channels soon.
“We are experimenting with Alexa and we’re actively exploring all voice activated chat bots,” said Samantha Barry, head of social news for CNN.
Bots are “as important a growth platform as mobile has been” for the 24-hour news network, CNN chief product officer Alex Wellen told Digiday in April, and may play a fairly large role in how CNN attracts new readers and viewers in the future.
Users of the Facebook and Kik bots may notice a difference in the kinds of stories they get because of Kik’s large teenage audience, Barry said. It even changes how CNN tells the story of the Republican National Convention.
“We’re going to tell the story of the political conventions in a different way than we would with an older audience or an insider politics audience — we’re giving this audience a broad guide to the convention — what is a convention? Who’s there? Sprinkled with some sights and scenes from the convention floor and all around Cleveland.”
Both the Facebook Messenger and Kik bot were created by content promotion company Outbrain and its Outbrain for Chat service, which started with CNN at Facebook’s F8 conference in April.
Outbrain has worked exclusively with publishers to build bots. The company declined to state how many bots have been made with Outbrain for Chat.
“We expect to announce our next wave of publisher partners in the coming weeks,” said Sarah Gavin of Outbrain.