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brand aspiration

Prime Directive: Bezos Pushes Original Content, From Amazon Studios to Amazon Studio

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 01:20 PM

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (as the story goes) chose a company name starting with "A" so it appeared early in search results, and Amazon, as the world's largest river, fit his vision of creating the biggest store in the world. 

Staying true to that founding DNA as it expands from the world’s first online bookseller to include everything from original programming to fashion, Bezos has tapped Clark Johnson (Homicide: Life on the Street, The Wire) to produce his next project, Alpha House, for the Amazon Studios unit. The GOP comedy, created by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau and starring John Goodman, debuted its pilot episode on Amazon in April, using the preview as a focus group to tweak the show before its exclusive debut to Amazon Prime members next month.

The $79-a-year Prime subscription service is key in Amazon’s plan to snare viewers. “It’s about making delight for Prime members,” commented Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to the Seattle Times. “What can we do that would make somebody be a happy Prime member? If we can make great television for them, that’s going to be an element of that. And they pay us an annual fee for that.” Those members are Amazon's VIPs, big spenders who typically shell out three times more than non-Prime Amazon shoppers across Amazon's channels.Continue reading...

going mobile

Disney, MTV Test Mobile-First Premieres of New Shows

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 28, 2013 11:21 AM

Mobile is fast becoming the first screen for entertainment—at least for the younger, digitally-attuned set. And now two of the most popular TV brands targeting children and young adults are testing the waters by debuting new series on the smaller screen.

Disney Channel will premiere the first nine episodes of Sheriff Callie’s Wild West on its Watch Disney Junior mobile app and a related website on Nov. 24, followed by a traditional debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior in early 2014. “This is an entirely new approach for us,” Nancy Kanter, EVP/GM for Disney Junior Worldwide, told the New York Times. “We have been amazed at how quickly kids have embraced this new technology. We’re talking billions of minutes spent watching.”

MTV, skewing slightly older, is going mobile-first to debut its new series, Wait 'Til Next Year, a 12-episode docudrama about a losing football team, ahead of its on-ahir US TV debut on Nov. 1. "It will be fun to see if we can get them to come back and watch on television," commented Kristin Frank, MTV's EVP connected content, to AP.

Both moves comes as marketers will start receiving more data about mobile TV viewing, with Nielsen starting to get its arms around the effectiveness and reach of mobile video globally. With more than one billion Internet users worldwide, Nielsen projects "a $30 billion global advertising market" and estimates that 73 percent of U.S. adults already consumer online user-generated media.

If MTV and Disney Channel have their way, it won't all just be cat videos driving that mobile video adoption, particularly with more comprehensive measurement of mobile video consumption becoming mainstream.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

YouTube Reportedly Preparing to Launch its Own Music Service

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2013 01:43 PM

MTV launched in 1981 with The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Now, ironically, 32 years later, video giant YouTube may be getting into the radio business.

According to a report from Billboard, the Google-owned site is working on an on-demand music service with both free and paid tiers that could join the increasingly crowded music streaming—which already includes services like Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio, Rdio and Twitter #Music—as soon as December.

The free version is said to offer “unlimited, on-demand access to a whole host of tracks on any device,” and the paid service will likely be ad-free and allow subscribers to store music on mobile devices. The Chicago Tribune notes that the video site is already the "most popular on-demand music offering in the world” and “has surpassed radio as the leading way teens and young adults listen to songs.”Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Surpasses HBO as Company Turns Into Stock Market Gold

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 22, 2013 12:42 PM

Netflix's chief content officer Ted Serandos is apparently a man of his word. Earlier this year, he said that his goal was to have the company “become HBO faster than HBO can become us," and the company announced Monday that it now has 29.9 million subscribers in the US, topping HBO's 28.7 million US subscribers, according to TechCrunch.

The news comes after Netflix announced its third-quarter results Monday, adding 1.3 million streaming subscribers domestically in that time. It's safe to assume that many of them signed up to screen the host of original (and award-winning) series from the brand, such as Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, and the Emmy-winning House of Cards. Still, Netflix has some work to do to catch up to HBO on a global scale, which touts 114 million global members, $1.6 billion in annual revenue, and 27 Emmys it took home just this year alone. 

But Netflix has helped lead the new wave of TV viewing, and there are several more players in the space that plan to continue to steal away cord-cutting customers from traditional cable systems.Continue reading...

tech innovation

Marriott, Valpak Take Advantage of Augmented Reality Marketing Opportunities

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 17, 2013 06:27 PM

Among marketers, augmented reality is becoming almost pedestrian. Two diverse brands, Marriott and Valpak, have both incorporated it into recent campaigns.

Marriott is pairing a futuristic redesign of its hotel lobbies, replete with tech-enabled work spaces, with an AR ad in Wired magazine, part of its Travel Brilliantly campaign that is “re-imagining the future of travel."

Consumers can scan the ad with the Blippar app to view a video that show's the hotel’s innovations. “More than just a picture, this campaign truly captures the look and feel of the Marriott brand,” Lisa Hu, VP/GM Blippar told Mobile Marketer. “For a hospitality brand, video is the perfect way to showcase the sights and sounds of vibrant cultures that are paired with a welcoming place to stay. Marriott chose to utilize their unique video content in order to bring the augmented reality experience to life.”

Mobile video is performing well as an engagement factor according to a recent Unruly report that saw click-through-rates for mobile video ads triple in the last year.Continue reading...

brand strategy

Amazon Moving In with CPG Brands to Corner Everyday Essentials Market

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2013 06:29 PM

Amazon has begun an ‘under-the-tent’ arrangement with Procter & Gamble using its employees to package, label and ship Bounty paper towels, Pampers diapers and other products from inside P&G warehouses. 

Enjoying a unique relationship with its major suppliers, the e-commerce behemoth is greasing the skids as the next wave of internet sales, everyday consumer goods, explodes. The e-tailer reportedly is working out similar cost-cutting deals with other CPG suppliers, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Amazon’s program, Vendor Flex, leverages its supplier’s warehouses and distribution networks, reducing costs of moving, time and storage and giving them an edge over competitors like Walmart, Costco and Target. Household staples, considered too bulky or cheap to justify shipping costs, comprise just 2 percent of such goods purchased online—but that percent was valued at $16 billion in 2012, according to Nielsen, and will grow by 25 percent a year to $32 billion in 2015, which is why retailers like Amazon and Target are hotly pursuing the segment.Continue reading...

retail watch

Will Mondelez's 'Smart Shelves' Change Retail or Just Add to Privacy Woes?

Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 16, 2013 03:02 PM

In little more than a year, some retail shelves may actually be able to identify consumers who are most likely to purchase certain snacks, thanks to Mondelez International. The $35 billion global foods giant, which spun off from Kraft Foods just over a year ago with a name intended to evoke "delicious world," markets such snack brands as Cadbury, Certs, Oreo, and Trident.

In 2015, the company plans to introduce "smart shelves" with sensors designed to detect the age and sex of consumers. Then, advanced analytics will associate the right type of snack product with each consumer, and a video display will target consumers with appropriate ads and promotions. 

Mondelez wants to place its smart shelves as close as possible to the point of sale—right near the checkout aisles to track and possibly encourage last-minute impulse buys. Mark Dajani, the CIO of Mondelez, told the Wall Street Journal, "When people walk by, it's a missed opportunity. We must know how the consumer behaves in the store. ...Knowing that a consumer is showing interest in the product gives us the opportunity to engage with them in real-time."Continue reading...

digital moves

Hearst Forms JV with AwesomenessTV to Launch 'Seventeen' Video Channel

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2013 01:56 PM

Let’s hear it for the girls. Hearst Corp. is partnering with YouTube channel AwesomenessTV to relaunch its teen girl brand, Seventeen, on the video network.

Hearst announced the JV with Dreamworks Animations' AwesomenessTV to create a network of ‘like-minded user-generated channels’ in addition to Seventeen.

With more 18-34-year-olds watching YouTube than any channel on cable-TV, AwesomenessTV exemplifies the latest crop of companies producing content exclusively for the Google-owned video channel. AwesomenessTV has grown from a single channel to a network of 81,000 teen-focused channels with a loyal audience of 26 million subscribers and was a headliner at this year's Upfront presentation by YouTube.Continue reading...

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