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GLOBAL HEADLINES

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- Sep 25, 2022
Teradata recognized as a Fast Track FinTech, moves up 7 places in ranking Teradata announced that it has ranked #30 on the 2022 IDC FinTech Rankings, moving up seven places from the previous year’s ranking. This annual vendor ranking represents the leading hardware, ...
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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 00:00

Brands are built in mindless moments

‘I am not influenced by advertising. I make up my own mind what to buy’. How many times has one of your friends said this to you? Of course, they are 50 percent right and 50 percent wrong. They do make up their own minds but that decision is likely influenced by advertising along with a host of other forgotten contacts with the brand.

In a recent blog post I suggested that provided people attend to an ad enough that it leaves associations linked to the brand in memory the advertising will have done its job. I went on to say,

“Later, when people try to make up their minds about a purchase, the ideas and feelings left by the advertising will help shape their decision making, predisposing them to choose the advertised brand. If the same advertising had reached people while shopping, then the impression would be more likely discounted as ‘just advertising trying to sell me something’.”

Of course, the problem with trying to target someone during the buying process is that you will likely need a very different type of ad; one intended to make a direct sale with an added value offer or discount designed to appeal to a more deliberative mindset. And guess what? Every other brand has access to the same data, same targeting and can play the same discount game. This is not where brands are built, it is where they are sold.


However, you can stack the deck in your favor if you have done a good job of building brand predisposition before people even start thinking about making a purchase in your category. No one spends time watching videos on YouTube, scanning their Facebook newsfeed or watching TV in order to think about brands. However, these mindless moments, when people are seeking distraction, entertainment or information are just the times when brands are built because people’s mental defenses are down.

Sure people will skip ads if they can, but the right content can stop that and seed ideas, memories and associations that influence later purchase decisions. This is why advertising needs to evoke an emotional response, first to engage people’s attention and then to ensure that the impressions conveyed last long enough to influence behavior at a later date. The more remarkable, inspirational or useful your content the more likely it is to leave a positive impression. But, as we point out in Make a Lasting Impression, this impression must be linked to the brand in people’s minds, because when they think about making a purchase people think about brands not advertising.

Of course, ad exposure is not the only mindless moment that helps build a brand: unsolicited word of mouth, news coverage and sponsorship can all influence predisposition. And do not forget the biggest mindless moment: usage. After an initial assessment how many times do you consciously review how well a product or service delivers on its promise?


Written by Nigel Hollis, Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Kantar Millward Brown.

Sunday, 06 August 2017 00:00

How to make a Good Chatbot

Your kid tore his favorite pair of jeans and you need to know if your local store will be open after work so you can pick up a replacement pair. If only you had a personal shopper who could find out what time the store closes.

Instead of you rushing to the store only to find that the jeans are out of stock, your personal shopper would check the inventory ahead of time. If you knew exactly what you wanted, they could ship the jeans to your door so you could skip the trip to the store altogether. And because the personal shopper knew you, they’d naturally ask, “Is there anything else you’re looking for today?”

As long as the personal shopper is a person, that’s a service only a small percentage of customers can get from their local store. But if the interaction is handled by an AI (artificial intelligence) chatbot through a messaging interface, a store can afford to do this for all their customers.

PEOPLE LOVE CONVERSATIONAL INTERFACES

The adoption of chatbot interfaces has been rapid. Apple’s Siri was born less than six years ago, but “she” already has competition from IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Tencent, Facebook and several smaller companies. Surveys show that 60% of consumers have used a voice-activated virtual assistant in the last year, and Google estimates that a quarter of all searches on mobile devices are carried out using voice commands. Even though most bots can’t cope with complex requests, the fact that they work at all creates a great deal of buzz.

In addition to their convenience, conversational interfaces are popular with consumers because we’re wired to think of conversations as interactions with people, not systems or companies. Surveys show that consumers are just as willing to speak to a retailer chatbot as they are to pick up the phone or send an email.

It’s no surprise then that companies are keen to use chatbots for customer service. But turning speech into words, understanding the words, and reacting appropriately is technically very difficult. For most companies, the prospect of building their own natural language processing engine is impossibly daunting. The good news is that there are several conversational AI platforms—which can be used to build chatbots—available. These platforms take care of the nuts and bolts of language processing and let you concentrate on designing the consumer experience.

BOT MUST-HAVES

The most obvious question is: “What are you going to call the bot?” Naming is important. While consumers are comfortable with companies personifying their bots with human names (Siri, Alexa and so on), giving consumers the impression that they’re interacting with a human when they’re not is potentially disastrous. A consumer expecting to talk to a flexible, helpful and understanding person is inevitably going to be disappointed by a bot with limited functionality, even if the interaction isn’t a disaster. Research shows that 73% of consumers say they wouldn’t use a brand's chatbot a second time if something went seriously wrong in their first conversation.

Despite the risk, the potential of human-like interaction—for example a bot whose “voice” (sassy, measured, serious, youthful, etc.) reflects the personality of the brand—is so great that it’s hard to pass up.

Companies need to figure out how, and to what extent, they’re going to allow their chatbot to use the information they have about individual customers. Ignoring this information isn’t an option—digital shoppers are aware that companies have data about them, and expect them to connect the dots (“I never buy khakis. Why did you send me an offer on khakis?”). A bot that doesn’t “know” the consumer will be unhelpful or obtuse; plus, it’s also vital that the bot uses personal information in a sensitive way. Most people are happy to receive a discount on their birthday, but the sort of data mining that helped one retailer deduce a teen was pregnant and send her offers—that her father saw before she had told him about the pregnancy—proved less welcome. Chatbots need to walk a fine line not often written into your typical one-to-one marketing algorithm.

Along with intimacy and personalization, bots can inject intelligence into the sales process. If your kid’s favorite jeans weren’t available at your local store, a smart bot would check other stores in the chain for stock. If that didn’t result in any hits, the bot would suggest alternative products; based on your value as a customer, the bot might even offer a more upscale option for the same price. And if there were no appropriate alternatives, the bot could offer to notify you when the jeans are in stock again.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that bots aren’t just data consumers. They’re also rich data sources: Consumers are likely to mention birthdays, anniversaries, color and size preferences and more in a conversation. This information needs to find its way back into a customer relationship system to enrich future interactions, rather than being discarded. Bots can even carry out lightweight surveys, gathering customers’ opinions on products or on the service the bot itself provided.

BOTS IN REAL LIFE

All of these examples show bots hosted outside the store: by smart home devices, in phone apps or on websites. But as with so many other aspects of retail, the digital revolution is blurring the divide between the physical and virtual worlds. Bots may not be as prevalent in brick-and-mortar stores as they are in e-commerce, but they are gaining ground.

They certainly are at Lowe’s. They’ll be deploying machines called LoweBots in 11 San Francisco Bay Area stores this year. Like a chatbot, the Lowe’s robots understand natural language, and can answer questions such as, "Where do I find a cordless drill?" And like chatbots that recognize when a customer is loitering on a website, the robot can spot a person standing bemused at a large display and go over and offer to help.

All of this sounds cool, and improved customer service and engagement are always welcome, but the acid test is how much chat interfaces increase sales and conversion rates. Bots are so new that there isn’t enough data to say. Nevertheless, the huge success of WeChat, with almost 900 million active users in China, and the popularity of chat interfaces among Millennials are trends that cannot be ignored. Companies standing on the sidelines while their competitors experiment with what could be game-changing technology are feeling increasingly nervous. It may not be safe to jump head-first into the water just yet, but it’s certainly time to get your feet wet.


Written by By Ian Dudley, Enterprise Architect at Nielsen

Saturday, 05 August 2017 00:00

MOVIES NOW is ‘Home to the Superheroes’

MOVIES NOW, India’s No.1 English Movie Channel from the TIMES NETWORK, is set to awe its viewers with a spotlight on Superhero films all through the month of August, with the launch of their new festival “Super Squad Homecoming” from 7th August, Monday-Friday at 7pm and 11pm.

The number one destination for Hollywood blockbusters, MOVIES NOW is the first channel to host both the Marvel and DC franchises, making it the real ‘Home to Superheroes’.

Commenting on the property, Mr. Vivek Srivastava, Executive Vice-President and Head Entertainment Cluster and Zoom, TIMES NETWORK said, “Marvel and DC franchises have redefined how we view superheroes today and MOVIES NOW is the first Indian English Movie channel to have both the libraries at the same time. Our objective is to live up to our audience expectation of being the No.1 blockbuster destination in the country and with MOVIES NOW being Home to the Superheroes we will offer our viewers a larger than life experience. Through Super Squad Homecoming, our aim is to further consolidate our position as the undisputed leader.”

This month-long festival will air movies featuring all the biggest superheroes including Batman, Superman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Blade and The Avengers. Super Squad Homecoming will showcase some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman, Batman Begins, Ant-Man, Blade, Blade 2, Blade: Trinity, Captain America: The First Avenger, Hulk, Man of Steel, Superman, Superman Returns and Thor making MOVIES NOW the only channel to host all the superheroes under one roof!

To promote this unique property, MOVIES NOW has designed a 360 degree campaign that will include TV, OOH, Radio, Cinema, Digital and on-ground activations across bars, college festivals and gyms. The multi-city campaign will be promoted through the month to support this exciting property which further strengthens MOVIES NOW’s positioning as the Home to the Superheroes.

Get all the Superhero Action with Super Squad Homecoming powered by Sony Bravia and driven by Jeep Compass, only on MOVIES NOW – Home To The Superheroes

Saturday, 05 August 2017 00:00

moneycontrol partners with Modulus

To deliver enhanced user-experience

moneycontrol in partnership with Modulus brings new charting tools to the platform for an upgraded experience

moneycontrol, India’s number one financial platform, is always evolving in order to deliver an enhanced user experience to its users. moneycontrol, which is part of Network18 Group, has partnered with Modulus in order to bring advanced technical features such as charting tools and take the complete experience up another notch. Through these features, users will be able to access interactive charts on their devices via desktop, smart phones and tablets. This will greatly aid Indian investors and traders to optimize their trades based on real time technical analysis.

By the use of this tool, moneycontrol users will be able to plot technical charts with ‘High-Low-Close’ bars, ‘Open-High-Low-Close’ bars, and ‘Candlestick’ patterns. The user will also be able to check real-time market data,; insert buy, sell, or exit symbols; insert text, trend lines, custom images, multiple indicators, overlay indicators, print charts; save and load charts etc according to their purposes.

Apart from this, they will be able to access other new features as well:

1. 10+ advanced drawing options – Drawing tools like trend lines, Fibonacci, Andrew's pitchfork, Ralf Regression, Gann Fan and more
2. 100+ overlay and indicators - User will be able to study indicators and overlays from award winning library of 100+ studies along with customizing options for all the parameters for any study. Built in function will help new traders get started
3. Multiple charting style - Bar charts, candlestick charts, hollow candles, Heikin Ashi, Renko, Three Line Break, Kagi, Point & Figure and more
4. Real-time & automatic updates for data and technical indicators
5. User will also be able to add text and images to the chart, delete objects, take screenshots, save and load theme/indicators/drawings and more.
6. All that with easy to use UI which supports mobile gestures and updates in real time.

The new charting features on the platform give users a good glimpse into the full-featured version that will be launched by moneycontrol in the time span of 3-6 months. Users can stay-tuned for real-time, tick-by-tick charting and continue to engage with the new developments on the platform.

Commenting on the launch Mr. Manish Maheshwari, CEO Network18 Digital says, “This is just beginning of partnership with Modulus. Modulus brings rich experience in trading tools and in partnership with them we are planning to roll out advanced artificial intelligence based tools to allow users to screen stocks based on technical indicators, receive real time algorithm based trade alert, chart pattern recognition, back testing tool to validate trading strategies and much more.”

Also commenting on the launch, Mr. Richard Gardner, CEO Modulus says, "We are excited to partner with Digital18, India's top financial and business media platform, which reaches millions of viewers. Modulus will be working closely with Digital18 to supply even more advanced financial technology throughout our partnership."

 

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 00:00

Discovery to acquire Scripps

Combination to Accelerate Growth Across Linear, Digital and Short-Form Platforms Around the World and Create a Global Leader in Real Life Entertainment

• Combined company will have nearly 20% of ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S. • Becomes home to five of the top female networks in ad-supported pay-TV with over 20% share of women watching primetime in the U.S.

• Optionality for next generation growth opportunities through exploitation of brands, formats, talent and 8,000 hours of original programming annually
• Over 7 billion monthly streams creates leading short-form, mobile-first digital player
• Significant cost synergies estimated at approximately $350 million
• Expected to be accretive to Adjusted Earnings per Share and Free Cash Flow in first year after close
• Investor call scheduled for Monday, July 31, at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET)
Silver Spring, Md. and Knoxville, Tenn. - Discovery Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA,

Discovery and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNI) (“Scripps”) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Discovery to acquire Scripps in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $14.6 billion, or $90 per share, based on Discovery’s Friday, July 21 closing price. The purchase price represents a premium of 34% to Scripps’ unaffected share price as of Tuesday, July 18, 2017. The transaction is expected to close by early 2018.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Discovery. Scripps is one of the best run media companies in the world with terrific assets, strong brands and popular talent and formats. Our business is about great storytelling, authentic characters and passionate super fans. We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company with a global content engine that can be fully optimized and monetized across our combined networks, products and services in every country around the world,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.

“Through the passion and dedication of our incredible employees, and with the support of the Scripps family, we have built a lifestyle content company that touches the lives of consumers every single day,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Scripps Networks Interactive. “This agreement with Discovery presents an unmatched opportunity for Scripps to grow its leading lifestyle brands across the world and on new and emerging channels including
short-form, direct-to-consumer and streaming platforms.”

New Innovator Across a Broad Portfolio of Entertainment Assets

Together, Discovery and Scripps will offer a complementary and dynamic suite of brands. The combined company will produce approximately 8,000 hours of original programming annually, be home to approximately 300,000 hours of library content, and will generate a combined 7 billion short-form video streams monthly, demonstrating its commitment to delivering content as a top short-form provider.

Combined, Discovery and Scripps will have nearly 20% share of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the U.S. Additionally, the combined company will be home to five of the top pay-TV networks for women and will account for over 20% share of women watching primetime pay-TV in the U.S.

The Combined Portfolio’s Brands Will Include:

Discovery: Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe.

Scripps: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country, as well as TVN, a premiere multi-platform provider of entertainment, lifestyle and news content in Poland; UKTV, an independent commercial joint venture with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel, the first pan- regional TV food network in Asia; and lifestyle
channel Fine Living Network.

International Growth Opportunities

The combination will extend Scripps’ brands, programming and talent to a broader international audience through Discovery’s best-in-class global distribution, sales and languaging infrastructure. Discovery sees strong opportunities to strengthen its existing global female networks with select content from Food Network, HGTV and all the Scripps brands. Scripps also has a strong position in key international growth markets, including the U.K. and Poland, and will help fuel Discovery’s existing content pipeline in growth areas like Discovery’s Home and Health network in Latin America.


Social, Mobile and Non-linear Growth Opportunities

The combined company will deliver 7 billion monthly short-form streams, bringing together Scripps’ established expertise in short-form video creation with Discovery’s investment in Group Nine Media to create a new scale player with a strong ability to compete for audiences and ad dollars. The combination will give Discovery an outstanding presence on new video and social media platforms. Additionally, Scripps Lifestyle Studios will become a key component of Discovery’s content engine, making the company a leader in key strategic areas such as datadriven ad sales, endemic advertising, and branded entertainment solutions. Discovery’s added scale, content engine and multiple brand offerings will present a compelling  3 opportunity for new digital distribution partners, including mobile, OTT, and direct-to-consumer platforms and offerings.

Synergies

The combination is expected to create significant cost synergies, estimated at approximately $350 million. The deal is expected to be accretive to Adjusted Earnings per Share and to Free Cash Flow in the first year after close.

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