Alexa can now monetise her ‘Skills’

Amazon has announced new tools for Alexa which enable ‘Skills’ for the digital assistant to be monetised.

The fight for the smart home between Amazon and Google continues to heat up. Just yesterday, IoT News reported that Google Assistant has overtaken Alexa in the number of supported devices for the first time.

Today, Amazon is announcing in-skill purchasing (ISP) and support for Amazon Pay in Alexa Skills. While its closest rival supports Google Pay (US only, as of writing) as the equivalent of Amazon Pay for on-device payments, it’s yet to support ISP.

ISP enables developers to charge users to unlock new functionality in skills in a similar manner to IAPs (In-App Purchases) many of us will already be accustomed to.

“Now, you can make money by selling premium digital content to enrich your Alexa skill experience,” wrote Alexa Evangelist Jeff Blankenburg, in a post. “Examples include game products, interactive stories, new features or content, and more.”

Several companies have already been using ISP including Sony (Jeopardy!, Teen Jeopardy!, Sports Jeopardy!), The Ellen Show (Heads Up), Fremantle (Match Game), HISTORY (Ultimate HISTORY Quiz), and TuneIn (TuneIn Live).

Amazon announced three more skills that will offer premium content:

  • SYFY WIRE by NBCUniversal – Sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fans can subscribe and get three additional podcasts exclusive to Amazon Alexa: Geeksplain, Debate Club, and Untold Story. Each podcast offers a new episode every week.

  • Yes Sire by Volley Inc. – In this popular game, you play a medieval lord presented with an ever-expanding array of difficult choices and must make good decisions to stay in power. Now you can buy the Wicked Witch Expansion pack, with new characters, new courtly drama, and new spooky scenarios.

  • Word of the Day by Volley Inc. – Every member of the family can benefit from learning useful new vocabulary.

Developers will be paid 70 percent of the revenue from IAPs, before any discount offered by Amazon. Users who are Prime Members can receive discounts, exclusive content, or early access.

A guide for getting started is available here.

What are your thoughts on Alexa’s in-skill purchasing abilities? Let us know in the comments.

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