2017.01.06 Last Week in Digital Media

It’s 2017 and as always, the year starts with CES. Here are my key takeaways.

  • Amazon Alexa. Despite no Amazon Alexa presence at CES, Alexa is present via other exhibitors. Alexa is being embedded in more devices. Everything from TVs, fridges and to cars. Billboard has a good write up. If Amazon can become a dominant software player in smart media devices, this has interesting media implications given Amazon’s closed-loop advertising platform.
  • PC makers seem to be betting that 2017 is the year of PC gaming and that consumer VR hits the mainstream. A few PC manufacturers Lenovo, Asus and Dell announced sub $1000 VR ready gaming laptops. Notably, Dell introduced gaming specs in their typically low-middle end Inspiron line. Read more on Fortune.
  • More consumer Wireless Mesh hardware was announced. What are Mesh Networks? Essentially they help you get a consistent wireless signal around your home. Why does this matter? Because with the Internet of Things (IoT) coming, the last thing you want is your Alexa or Google Home not waking you up because it can’t connect to WiFi. Important in media as IoT is changing eCommerce (and is yet another consumer data point to draw on for media plans)
  • Intelligent Agents (Alexa, Google, Cortana) are battling for auto. Hyundai announced Google Assistant support, Nissan partnered with Cortana, Ford with Amazon Alexa. The intelligent agent war is interesting as each player is trying to lock you into their ecosystem everywhere. Imagine the world where you’re targeting audiences based on the assistant they have e.g. a Hershey’s campaign targeting Alexa owners who drive Ford’s because you know they will buy chocolate on Amazon.

So out of all of this, what should you be looking to test, trial or learn with clients this year? Out of CES, these are the media opportunities I recommend exploring:

1. eSports and Gaming, make sure you’re familiar with the media on twitch and YouTube Gaming
2. Integration with Alexa or Google Home. where could shift spend into a voice-driven media action?.

Have a great week.