Each week, we look at industry news curated by MediaScope. This week we look at the iPhone’s tenth birthday, the tennis playing AI and the end of publishing.


As the iPhone Turns 10 Retailers are Still Trying to Figure Out How to be True OmniChannel Enterprises (AdWeek)  

“The No. 1 obstacle to flawless omnichannel execution for marketers is organisational dynamics—not technology, not budgeting and not brains. The C-suite is starting to see that, and platforms like Google are starting to enable it. And organisations are starting to change where the question is simply, ‘If I have $1, where’s the best place to put that $1?’ It’s channel agnostic, medium agnostic and brand agnostic. You are going to see the C-suite—and frankly the CFO—demand that as the platforms and technologies make it possible.” From 2014 through 2016, the talk in retail executive recruiting circles was all about the rise of the chief digital officer, or CDO, with Nike, Target, Urban Outfitters and other brands launching such roles to push forward their digital transformations. Is the omnichannel executive director the next big gig in retail?


Wimbledon Launches Messenger Bot as Backs AI to Reshape Tennis Coverage (MarketingWeek)

Last year, Wimbledon says it grew its mobile users threefold, with visitors and viewers now increasingly choosing to watch matches and highlights through its mobile app. The Wimbledon app, meanwhile, was downloaded an additional 1.5 million times in 2016 as 21m unique devices accessed Wimbledon highlights (up from 21.1m in 2015) and its social media videos were viewed 106m times (up from 85m in 2015). While the dotcom to app audience split is still 93% to 7%, Wimbledon is increasingly seeing its audience move to mobile. Subsequently, it will be introducing AI assistant Fred, which is powered by IBM Watson technology, as an option within its official app for this year’s tournament. Fred, named after legendary British tennis player Fred Perry, will work by allowing visitors on site to ask it questions such as directions and where restaurants are. And Alexandra Willis, head of communications, content & digital at the All English Lawn Tennis Club, says the plan is to expand the AI assistant over the coming years so it can answer questions such as the history of players or whether it’s going to rain with a level of intuition similar to something like Siri.


The Faceless Publisher (Stratchery)

It is hardly new news to note that the business model of publishing has fallen apart. The most obvious culprit is that on the Internet, distribution, particular text and images, is effectively free, which meant that advertisers had new channels: first ad networks that operated at scale across publishers, and increasingly Facebook and Google who offer the power to reach the individual directly. What made this downward spiral particularly devastating is that, as demonstrated by the advertising shift, newspapers did not exist in a vacuum. Readers could read any newspaper, or digital-only publisher, or even individual bloggers. And, just as social media made it possible for advertisers to target individuals, it also made everyone a content creator pushing their own media into the same feed as everyone else: the brand didn’t matter at all, only the content, or, in a few exceptional cases, the individual authors, many of whom amassed massive followings of their own.


Is the Relevance of Human Perspective Diminishing in Advertising? (MediaPost)

From bots handling customer support to mechanical meal deliveries, sophisticated machines are accepted as tools that can streamline every product or service. According to a recent study by Accenture, the majority of consumers — 7 in 10 — would be happy to receive machine-powered advice in multiple sectors, including banking, insurance, and retirement services. Yet the need for a human touch is still strong, especially with ads. Instead of replacing humans, machines can increase creative impact and targeting accuracy. And the way they achieve this is with data. As human engagement with machines increases, so does data availability, and this insight can be a powerful tailoring tool. With rapid processing ability, intelligent machines are not only able to translate big data into informed decisions, but also become smarter over time. The longer advertisers use machines to assess patterns and identify which tactics and messages work best for specific audiences, the more relevant they can make ads.

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