Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

Jeff Bezos Isn’t Convinced That the Washington Post Can Survive on Payment Services

October 20, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Jeff Bezos, Amazon chief and owner of the Washington Post, isn't sure that services like paywalls and tiered subscriptions can work for publishers. During a wide-ranging panel at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit, Bezos talked about how he works with the Washington Post staff, as well as the tech giant's recent move into artificial intelligence and his thoughts on the presidential election. One of the most interesting nuggets in the conversation came out when Bezos talked about how the Washington Post plans to make money in the future. Despite running arguably the world's biggest ecommerce company, asking consumers to pay for content isn't a model that he's totally sold on. "These things can change, but I don't see evidence yet that consumers are amenable to those kinds of micro-payments," Bezos told a packed room. "In the early days of music subscription services, consumers were not amenable to music subscriptions—they didn't want that, they wanted to buy it a la carte. Habits and behaviors and patterns of consumers do change slowly over time—maybe one day they will pay." Bezos also said that he wants to move the Post from "making a relatively large amount of money per reader, having a relatively small number of readers—that was the traditional Post model for decades, [a] very successful model by the way," to, "a model where we make a very small amount of money per reader on a much, much larger number of readers." Whether Bezos' vision means reducing the paper's ad load or changing new ad formats isn't clear, but he said that he thinks it will include a mixture of both ads and subscriptions. Over the past year, the Washington Post has experimented with a number of new ad products that seemingly fit the bill for Bezos' mandate. In May, the paper rolled out ads that have faster load times, for example. And last month, it started rolling out a mobile website that promises to load pages in less than a second. In terms of his surprising move to get into the media business three years ago when he acquired the Washington Post, "I did zero due diligence," Bezos said. "I did not negotiate, I accepted the asking price. It couldn't have happened that way except for the person that I was dealing with was Don Graham, who I've known for 15 years and was the most honorable person." According to Bezos, Graham—the then-owner of the paper—laid out every single problem as well as every great quality when making the deal. "I've owned the paper for a couple of years now and if anything, the warts are not as bad as he made them out to be and the things that are great about the Post are stronger than he made them out to be," he said. He also compared the culture of the Post as, "swashbuckling, but they're like professional swashbucklers." That said, Bezos is purposely hands-off with the paper's team. "This is a highly professionalized activity [and] we have people who have decades of experience doing it. I try to help at a much higher level than, 'should we cover this story or that story.'" Artificial learning Bezos talked a bit about Echo's artificial intelligence technology that uses deep learning to learn more about users' speech patterns, music preferences and more. "The fact that it's always on, the fact that you can talk to it in an actual way removes a lot of barriers, a lot of friction—it's easier than taking your phone out of your pocket," Bezos said

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How Jeff Bezos Is Turning the Washington Post Into a Digitally Driven Publisher

October 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

SAN FRANCISCO—When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took over the Washington Post in 2013, many wondered what a tech exec's leadership would look like at a 140-year-old newspaper. But with a growing digital business and new practices in the newsroom, the Washington Post's executive editor, Martin Baron, talked about how the paper approaches its deep reporting—like having 20 reporters cover this year's presidential election—during a panel at Vanity Fair's New Establishment Summit. "Jeff came in not only with financial power, but he came in with intellectual power and I think forced us to think more profoundly about how the internet changed the way that we deliver information to people," Barron said during an interview with Vanity Fair's special correspondent Sarah Ellison. Baron said the paper talks to Bezos once every two weeks for about an hour, and one of the first things he did after buying the paper was getting the newsroom to think differently about aggregation and curation. "One of the first things he talked to us about is, 'Look, you do these big, narrative stories. You do these deep investigations, and then some other media outlet in 15 minutes [has] rewritten your story, and they've grabbed your traffic. How are you going to think about that?' That's a hard question to answer," Baron said. That conversation left Baron with the impression that Bezos' ownership "will not allow us to do the deep, narrative stories—but that's not what happened." Instead, the paper started aggregating itself with staff members looking for parts of stories they could pick out and compile into one story. The publisher has also started aggregating from other news outlets.

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Here’s How The CW Is Forging Its Own Digital Path, Without Hulu

October 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

This week, as The CW begins to debut its season premieres, viewers used to streaming those shows on Hulu will be in for a surprise. The network's five-year deal with the streaming service has lapsed, which means that for the first time, The CW's website and apps will have exclusive in-season streaming rights to its shows like Supergirl , which has migrated over from CBS, Jane the Virgin and The Flash . It's a brave new digital world for The CW, which created its CW Seed digital platform in 2013 in part so it would one day be prepared to go it alone without Hulu. Last week, the network rolled out its CW app on Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, Chromecast and Amazon Fire, and will be amping up marketing efforts to direct audiences to the new digital destinations. "When you know this is the only place you have to go, that makes a big difference, and it helps our business model," said network president Mark Pedowitz. While ABC, Fox and NBC, whose parent companies jointly own Hulu, were able to sell a big chunk of their ad inventory on the streaming service, The CW was not given the same access to Hulu ad revenue. (That did not change when Time Warner, which jointly owns The CW with CBS Corp., acquired a 10 percent stake in Hulu in August.) "We had none of it, and I'm sure a lot of advertisers went there to get our shows," said Rob Tuck, evp, national sales for The CW. "The advertisers had been looking for more from us because our inventory was somewhat constrained, and we now have been able to release it. We've got a lot more available to us, and clients definitely responded. Our digital growth this year was really significant." Sources close to Hulu counter that the company didn't want to pay more to renew its deal, and be required to take on the entire network's portfolio without in-season stacking rights to all episodes of a current season when only The Flash and Arrow were generating meaningful traffic on the site. In addition to being the only network to offer unauthenticated access via its apps ("our median age on digital is 23, and our viewer does not want to authenticate," explained Tuck), Pedowitz and Tuck have reduced The CW's digital ad load this season, from 12 minutes per hour, which mirrored the linear load, to seven-to-nine minutes per hour. "We're trying to figure out what is the right load so that viewers feel that they've had a great viewing experience," said Pedowitz. While The CW ended its partnership with one SVOD, it has enhanced its relationship with another. In July, the network signed a lucrative, multiyear deal with Netflix, giving that company exclusive streaming rights to full seasons of each CW series, beginning just eight days after its season finale. Under its previous CW deal, Netflix did not get streaming access until several months after a season had concluded

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Why Some Broadcast Shows Are Getting Smaller, Cable-Sized Season Orders

September 29, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

It was no surprise that NBC gave This Is Us a full-season pickup on Tuesday—after all, the series had the highest-rated 18-49 debut of any new series last week: a 2.8 rating, which soared to a 4.2 in live-plus-3 numbers. But what was a bit unexpected, however, was the length of that full-season order: 18 episodes, instead of the standard 22-episode season for broadcast shows. This Is Us' 18-episode order was music to the ears of its creator Dan Fogelman, who told Adweek that the 22-episode format isn't deal for either that show or his other new fall drama, Fox's Pitch. "At the end of the day, it's NBC's and Fox's call, and you do as many as they want," said Fogelman. "But it's hard, and it's not just about the difficulty of executing it and executing it well, it's also the schedule and the timing. In these particular shows, you want the show to feel big, and have big moments and big reveals. But it's hard to create that many of them, and you don't want the show to feel disappointing." Fogelman is far from the only creator who feels that way. While sitcoms and procedurals are still routinely receiving 22-episode seasons (in some cases, even more episodes than that), increasingly, producers of serialized broadcast dramas are pushing for smaller-cable sized season orders, and their networks are happily complying. "I cannot tell you how much the world has changed in the last decade as far as that goes," said Gary Newman, Fox Television Studios co-CEO and co-chairman. "I think the root of it is, more and more for studios, the back-end is SVOD [services like Netflix and Amazon], not syndication. So you no longer need a certain number of episodes [to hit the threshold for syndication]. You want as many as possible, but you don't need them the way you used to." In a world where as many as 450 scripted series will air this year, "We're no longer competing with just the other broadcast networks. We're competing with OTT services and cable networks, and I think you have to be respectful of the consumers' time and interest," said Newman. That means realizing that "sometimes with these more intense, serialized shows, trying to maintain that intensity over 22 episodes—or as we discovered years ago with 24, 24 episodes—is very difficult," said Newman. "I think if we were to be honest about 24, as great as it was, you would see a lot of dipping, particularly in the middle of the season." 24's 12-episode limited series revival, 2014's 24: Live Another Day, "was a far more successful version. We were able to keep up the intensity throughout the 12 episodes," Newman added

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The People v. O.J. Simpson, Game of Thrones Dominate 2016 Emmys

September 19, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

On the night before the 2016-17 TV season began, the television industry honored its very best shows and actors at the 68th Emmy Awards—and the broadcast networks once again found themselves dominated by cable and streaming networks. For three hours on ABC, a series of broadcast stars strode onstage at the Microsoft Theater, and more often than not, presented Emmys to HBO's Game of Thrones, FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and Amazon's Transparent. Of 27 Emmy awards, just four went to broadcast outlets: Kate McKinnon won for supporting actress in a comedy (NBC's Saturday Night Live), NBC's The Voice was named best reality competition program, Regina King won for supporting actress in a limited series (ABC's American Crime) and Fox's Grease: Live was honored for directing in a variety special. HBO and FX dominated the evening, with 6 Emmys apiece, led by Game of Thrones and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Netflix and Amazon were also well represented (with 3 and 2 awards, respectively), and even BBC America snuck in, as Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany, who read her acceptance speech via smartphone, was a surprise pick for best actress in a drama series

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Amazon Dedicates September to Comedy by Releasing 4 Series, Including One From Woody Allen

August 7, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The broadcast networks aren't the only ones rolling out most of their comedies when the new TV season kicks off in September. Amazon will debut four of its comedies, including the third season of Transparent, that same month. "This September will be Amazon's month of comedy, where we will debut four new comedy series in a row, the first streaming service to do so. We're calling it Amazon's month of comedy, unless we come up with something better before September," Amazon Studios' head of half-hour series Joe Lewis said today at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in L.A. One Mississippi, starring comedian Tig Notaro and inspired by her life, debuts on Sept. 9. Fleabag, starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also wrote every episode) as a detached London woman, airs on Sept. 16. The critically-acclaimed Transparent returns for Season 3 on Sept. 23.

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Snapchat Influencers Start Labeling Social Endorsements as Paid Ads

August 3, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For months, brands have leaned heavily on Snapchat's biggest celebrities to run under-the-radar campaigns that subtly promote their products in the form of sponsored posts that are seen by influencers' millions of followers. Now those creators are beginning to mark branded content with disclaimers that adhere to the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines. Unlike other platforms like Instagram and Twitter where social celebs typically have to clearly label their content as paid endorsements, sponsored content on Snapchat has been murky for marketers until recently. Snapchat doesn't have any strict rules for content creators to abide by, and it can be difficult to find misleading content since posts automatically disappear within 24 hours. But this week, a handful of the platform's biggest stars— Shaun McBride , Josh Peck and the Eh Bee Family—have posted copy that is marked with hashtags such as #paid, #ad and #sponsored to indicate that their posts are paid for by brands. "With more influencers creating content on Snapchat, you're seeing everyone follow along [with FTC guidelines,]" said Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo, a startup that pairs up influencers with brands. "The widely accepted industry best practice is still using #ad and you see more influencer campaigns being executed on Snapchat—it's a universal understanding." Yesterday, McBride—the Snapchat artist more commonly known as Shonduras—posted a Snapchat story from a Samsung event in New York that unveiled its new Note 7 smartphone. Before the event, McBride posted a picture with the hashtag #collab to disclose to his fans that he was being paid to post on his Snapchat account. "I usually comply with whatever the brand feels is the right decision," McBride said in an email. McBride's Snapchat story Meanwhile, YouTube and Vine family the Eh Bee Family teased a branded YouTube video created for Nintendo's Mario Kart Battle game on Snapchat yesterday with a single post marked as #paid that was uploaded using the app's recently launched Memories feature. "We just want to be transparent with our fans, and we're glad that we can upload from our camera roll as it allows us to better position FTC disclaimers without ruining the overall experience," the Eh Bee Family said in an emailed statement. Indeed, the number of celebrities disclosing their posts as paid has seemingly grown overnight. Josh Peck and David Lopez are among a handful of celebs promoting a sponsored lens from Amazon today, and Mondelez-owned Sour Patch Kids chose to have music app star Baby Ariel take over the brand's Snapchat account to create a story during Sunday's Teen Choice Awards that she labeled with the hashtag #ad. Social celeb Josh Peck promoted Amazon's Echo. Advertisers and creators have long struggled with labeling so-called native advertising so that it's legally disclosed but doesn't annoy an influencer's millions of followers. When Lord & Taylor failed to acknowledge that it paid 50 bloggers to photograph themselves wearing the same dress, the FTC cracked down on the retailer in March . For its part, Facebook recently loosened its grip on branded content so that publishers and creators can create custom content on the platform that is marked with sponsored tags, similar to YouTube's policies. Snapchat's ephemeral posts and lack of rules on paid content can be particularly tricky for advertisers. Alexa Mehraban, who runs the popular EatingNYC account on Instagram, recently told Adweek that branded content on Snapchat is "still a pretty gray area" compared to Instagram and other social platforms.

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Google Beats Out Apple as the World’s Most Valuable Company at $229 Billion

June 8, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Alphabet—Google's holding company—is also the world's most valuable alpha dog. Today, Millward Brown and WPP released their annual BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, which tracks the worth of the world's top brands. According to BrandZ, Alphabet leads the pack because of Google's growth in advertising money, growth in its cloud business and the company's constant innovations. It's the second time the company has topped BrandZ's list in the past three years, after fighting Apple for the No. 1 slot. According to BrandZ, Google's value hit $229 billion this year (up 29 percent year-over-year) while Apple's value dipped 8 percent to $228 billion. Just two weeks ago, a separate report from media buying firm Zenith Media pegged Google as the world's biggest media player, controlling $60 billion in ad spend in the U.S. alone

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European Union Mulls 20% Content Quota for Netflix and Amazon Prime

May 19, 2016  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, is mulling a move to impose a 20% European content quota on video streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime. More to follow.

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5 Products That Could Become as Popular as Adult Coloring Books

May 9, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

As consumers look for ways to relieve stress through creativity, adult coloring books have taken the nation by storm, populating Amazon's list of best-selling books and popping up in marketing efforts for Timberland and other brands. And no, it's not just a millennial obsession. "Although millennials are driving the growth, the handmade movement is a trend that touches all generations," noted NPD Group analyst Leen Nsouli. "We carry 150 coloring book titles now, and we've seen a great customer response—so great that we've pushed out into other surfaces that people can color on: T-shirts, playhouses and canvases," said Stephen Carlotti, evp of marketing at Michaels Craft Stores. "We see great opportunity going forward as long as we continue to innovate." But when the coloring book trend fades, what products could take its place? Here are five contenders, according to retailers. Craft kits Craft kits like Target's Hand Made Modern, which launched in 2015 and include instructions and materials to make hand-stitched photo frames, felt owls, wooden jewelry boxes and fabric flowers, have been a hit with consumers, said Amy Goetz, spokesperson for Target. "Crafting is a huge trend, and we know people gravitate toward activities that ignite their creativity." Added Megan Hartman, strategy director at Red Peak Branding: "To achieve the mass success that coloring books have, you have to have something that's quick and easy. Craft kits are creativity with a template." Personalized planners Sales of personalized planners at Michaels grew on the heels of the coloring book phenomenon, Carlotti said. "Coloring books and planners have a lot of similarities," he said. "People personalize planners. They'll add stickers and embellishments, but there's not a right or wrong way to do it, just like coloring." Painting nights and craft classes Crafting as a social activity, including painting nights and websites like CourseHorse, which offer a variety of crafting and art classes in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, will continue to expand, according to NPD Group.

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