Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

What Marketers Can Learn From America’s Election Shock

November 22, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

If my Facebook newsfeed is any indication, the world of advertising is currently filled with hand-wringing, astonishment and in some cases, all-out despair. There are tears and complete shock that we seem to have gotten it all wrong. Liz Ross The results of the presidential election were shocking to many, especially with election forecasters putting Hillary Clinton's chance of winning at anywhere from 70 percent to as high as 99 percent. How they got it so wrong is a cautionary tale not just for pollsters, but for marketers as well. The absolute No. 1 takeaway we should have tattooed on our collective forehead is that data, and the subsequent algorithms we use to parse that data, do not understand human emotion, especially the most intense forms—love, hate, anger, joy and loneliness. Emotions, which define who we are as humans, do not fit on an election forecaster's data chart just as they cannot be summarized through an evaluation of our Amazon purchases or our online surfing behavior. Our digital selves only represent a piece (a small but growing piece) of who we are. While the digital footprint of those of us in cities is growing exponentially, we must not project our own behavior and patterns on those in other parts of the country. My running joke is that people on the West Coast all believe the U.S. will soon have its toilet paper delivered by drone and people on the East Coast believe that everyone buys their toilet paper one roll at a time. Neither of these things is true, of course, and the reality is that most of the people in the middle of the country live different lives than those on the coasts. So if we want to know something or claim to know something about a person or a community, we sure as hell better be tuned in to their humanity and not just their statistics. We are in advertising, one of the most amazing industries in the world—an industry of creative thinkers, eccentrics and people who challenge the status quo. We are also an industry filled with optimists, and no time in history have we needed optimism more than we do today. So let's be the optimists we are, and use this moment of national tension as a learning opportunity. Here are four ideas for how marketers can do things differently as a result of what we learned from the election: • Stop using the word "consumer." It is a pejorative term, indicating that there are mindless people waiting in the world for messages and information from brands. No one in the world simply consumes; they are complex humans who make choices every single day. Regarding them as actual people will make our marketing better

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How the Election Hurt Ecommerce and 6 Other Interesting Digital Marketing Stats

November 18, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

With the presidential election behind us and the holidays ahead, there's been an interesting mix of digital marketing stats this week. Check out seven that caught our eye: 1. Voting at the expense of shopping HookLogic, part of Criteo, found that an election can hurt online retailers. Its cross-client study discovered that ecommerce dropped 5 percent year-over-year (YOY) the day before the election, fell 16 percent YOY the day of and plummeted 23 percent YOY the day after . 2. Black Friday shoppers are usually married Experian Marketing Services worked with SpotRight to study consumers mentioning #BlackFriday on Twitter. The analysis found that Black Friday shoppers are 53 percent women, 60 percent between the ages of 26-50, and 73 percent are married

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How This Agency Built Its Own App Using Amazon Echo

November 14, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Last October, New York-based digital agency Rain worked with Campbell's to find a new way to push out the CPG giant's library of recipes, creating one of the first branded "skills" for Amazon's voice-controlled Echo device, which helped consumers find dinner recipes on demand. While the agency expected a bit of a PR boost from the Campbell's work, voice and the so-called Internet of Things has actually become a big growth area for Rain over the past year, as more agencies look for ways to tap into emerging devices for brands. Shortly after creating the Campbell's skill, Rain became one of a handful of Amazon's go-to developers tasked with building "skills"—voice apps that let consumers ask questions to Amazon's AI platform named Alexa. Rain even opened up a small satellite office—albeit with one employee—in Seattle to be closer to Amazon's headquarters. "From an agency level, Amazon helps make some connections with clients," said Greg Hedges, director of strategy at Rain. "People will reach out to Amazon sometimes and then we'll get them to the right people." In the past year, Rain has signed 1-800-Flowers, P&G's Tide, Yahoo Fantasy Football and Liberty Mutual-owned Safeco as clients, helping to build branded skills that dole out information and entertainment to consumers. For Safeco, the agency built a glossary of insurance terms so that consumers can ask Alexa questions like, "What is umbrella insurance?" or "What does liability mean?" For 1-800-Flowers, users can automatically place flower orders to their friends or family members.

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Matthew Weiner Heads to Amazon for His Next TV Move After Mad Men

October 26, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

A year and a half after wrapping his iconic TV series Mad Men, the show's creator, Matthew Weiner, has finally picked his next TV project. The creator is leaving AMC for streaming, making a $70 million deal with Amazon and The Weinstein Co. for his new, modern-day series. While Amazon often allows its subscribers to vote on its pilots before deciding which ones to pick up to series, Weiner's show has received a straight-to-series order, as was the case with the streaming service's recent drama Goliath and Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes. According to Deadline , which first reported the news, Weiner's new series is a "contemporary anthology set in multiple locations worldwide." Weiner will be creating, writing and executive producing the show, and directing several episodes. Since finishing Mad Men's seven-season run last May, Weiner has laid relatively low as he plotted his next move. He directed an episode of Orange Is the New Black's most recent season, and wrote a novel, Heather, the Totality, which is due out next fall. Weiner's choice of Amazon, which like Netflix releases an entire season's worth of shows at once, is somewhat surprising given that Weiner said last year that he'd prefer to have his shows released weekly. If he ever were to make a show for Netflix, he said shortly after Mad Men's finale , "I would try to convince them to let me just roll them out, so there was at least some shared experience. I love the waiting, I love the marination. I think when you watch the entire season of a show in a day, you will definitely dream about it, but it's not the same as walking around the whole week saying, 'God, Pete really pissed me off!'" There was no immediate word from Amazon about the release schedule for Weiner's new series.

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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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