Know How...

Sep 18th 2017

Know How... 345

Alexa Flash Briefings

Create your own Amazon Alexa Flash Briefings.

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Category: Help & How To

Amazon Alexa Flash Briefings

  • Flash Briefings are for quick news and content delivery via Amazon's Alexa devices.
  • Can do two different types of Flash Briefings: Text and Audio

Steps to set up Flash Briefing:

  1. Sign up for Amazon developer account at
  2. Under "Alexa", go to "Alexa Skills Kit" and click "Get Started".
  3. This lists your current skills. You probably have none, so click "Add a New Skill".
  4. Select "Flash Briefing Skill API", language, and enter a name for your skill.
  5. Under "Configuration", enter your error message in case it doesn't work.
  6. You also add your RSS or JSON feed URL here, but we'll come back to that later when we have one.
  7. Under "Test", set it to "Yes" while you're testing. You'll be able to load up the skill on your Alexa, but others can't.
  8. Under "Publishing Information", select a category and sub-category.
  9. Testing instructions, you can just enter something like, "This is a Flash Briefing that will ____." There are no real testing instructions necessary for Flash Briefings.
  10. Can select countries/regions the skill should be available.
  11. Enter (public) skill descriptions, keywords, and upload 108x108 and 512x512 icons.
  12. In "Privacy & Compliance", check the options (likely "No") and optionally link to privacy and terms of use pages.

Can test Alexa skills without an Echo by going to

Flash Briefing feeds must:

  1. be served via HTTPS
  2. be in JSON or RSS format
  3. be UTF-8 encoded
  4. include 1 to 5 unique items.  (If you include more, only the first five are used...newest to oldest.)
  5. be able to handle at least 1 request per minute with a latency of under 1 second.

Text-To-Speech Flash Briefings

  • Items limited to 4,500 characters.
  • Must be plain text with no special characters, SSML, HTML, or XML.
  • Should be properly punctuated. Commas and semicolons result in short pauses. Periods, question marks, and exclamation points result in longer pauses.

Audio Flash Briefings

  • Require HTTPS URL to audio content.
  • 256kbps mono or stereo MP3
  • Under 10 minutes

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