NEW YORK, March 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP; www.meredith.com), the nation's largest brand-powered food, lifestyle and entertainment media company, engaging over 175 million unduplicated American consumers every month, today announced that it has launched "Balance by Health," a new voice-activated Alexa skill with content from the Health brand, as well as from sister brands Eating Well, Cooking Light, and SHAPE, to bring daily wellness inspiration and motivation to millions of women. Balance by Health is the latest Meredith skill to join the Amazon Alexa platform, bringing additional utility to Meredith readers and visitors across platforms. The Balance by Health experience extends beyond voice activation to chat, with an accompanying Facebook Messenger chatbot that seamlessly links the voice experience to desktop and mobile.
Balance by Health shares expert wellness content across health, fitness, nutrition and beauty topics. Each day, Balance by Health delivers users a "Balance Booster," a short tip and challenge designed to improve users' lives in small but significant ways. For example, the challenge may be to exercise for 20 minutes that day or to drink 40 ounces of water, depending on the user's fitness profile and goals. Balance by Health allows users to share information about their wellness areas of interest, helping personalize content to each user over time.
"Taking care of their health is a 24/7 challenge for women, and we want to be there every step of the way, wherever they are," says Amy Conway, Editor-in-Chief of Health. "The Balance by Health skill is an always-on wellness companion, helping our audience start each day on the right track."
Balance by Health logs users' progress on their challenges, issuing friendly reminders and encouragement along the way. Each time users complete a challenge, they are awarded points and can move on to their next challenge.
Users can enable the Balance by Health skill in the Alexa Skill Store and can access the skill using their preferred smart speaker or voice-activated device. This month's issue of Health magazine will include a Meredith Smart Code, which users can scan to enable the skill. Once activated, users can engage the experience by saying, "Alexa, open Balance by Health." Users can also use voice commands to record their challenge progress ("Alexa, tell Balance by Health I've completed my challenge") or request additional tips and content throughout the day ("Alexa, ask Balance by Health for a health tip").
"Consumers today are looking to media platforms for personalized experiences and recommendations built on trusted editorial content," said Joelle Mefford, Director of Innovation at Meredith. "We are excited to launch a voice experience in the health space, as we have such strong editorial credibility and audiences are turning to voice platforms to simplify and drive utility in their daily lives."
The personalized Balance by Health experience will soon be accessible beyond voice-activated devices. A Balance by Health chatbot, launching on Facebook Messenger in early April, will help users stay connected to their fitness goals throughout the day, when they may be away from their smart speaker. Users can open the Balance by Health experience with Alexa from home and then pick up their conversation on the Messenger platform via desktop and mobile from the office or on the go. Users may also opt to receive emails with additional tips, articles and updates on their progress.
Balance by Health is the second Alexa skill that Meredith has built, following the 2017 launch of the Allrecipes cooking skill in partnership with Amazon. Balance by Health is a key component of the Meredith Voice Network, which provides brand advertisers with integrated access to Meredith's voice and audio advertising opportunities, which are launching across Meredith's key lifestyle verticals, including Food, Health, Entertainment, Travel, Parenting and Home. Contact [email protected] for more information on the Meredith Voice Network.
According to a recent Nielsen report, nearly one-quarter of U.S. households now own a smart speaker, and 81% of users engage their voice assistants for real-time information, while 68% use them to access "fun" content. Amazon Alexa devices continue to lead the market in smart speakers, with 61% market share as of January, 2019.