#Industry News

Solving the oldest problem in eCommerce

Hello, and welcome to the newsletter.  

This week we have 7 stories that caught my eye, including Amazon’s attempt to solve the oldest problem in eCommerce, Spotify’s IPO, and a chance to show you ain’t afraid of no ghost...




Amazon buys Ring, a Smart Door company
This week Amazon bought smart doorlock company Ring for over $1bn, Amazon’s second biggest purchase after Whole Foods last year.  Ring door locks allow you to remotely let people into your property, and for Amazon this means the chance to delivery to people when they are out, including putting groceries in the fridge.  Couple this with Amazon’s plans to introduce their own delivery service, which third parties could use, and Amazon suddenly has an even stronger proposition.  Or look a little further out, and to Amazon’s plans in healthcare; the technology could let doctors and carers visit you.


Spotify has filed for an IPO
How about this for a mission statement:  “Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators.”
They also share lots of data:  159m monthly users, 71m paid users (so 88m who see ads), with average users listening to 25 hours a month, 31% of it in playlists.  
Full filing here


Digital publisher ‘Little Things’ has closed down, blaming Facebook’s algorithm change 
I’d not heard of the women’s publisher Little Things, but it announced its closure this week after four years, despite amassing over 12m Facebook followers.  It is blaming the recent algorithm change, and I’ve definitely noticed seeing less publisher content than I was last year, so this could be the first of many.  (There are also lots of other reasons for it failing - monetising digital media is incredibly hard).  One lesson is not to be too dependent on Facebook, Google and others - they can change their feed and search algorithms overnight and really disrupt traffic!


Airbnb is adding a luxury layer
I once overheard someone say ‘The problem with Airbnb is that you rely on someone else’s definition of a comfortable bed’.  Airbnb is now trying to address this, and other problems, by launching Airbnb Plus, a curated luxury level of service, with 2000 properties in 13 cities which have been checked by its own experts.  Coming next is Airbnb Beyond, which includes curated stays and experiences.  It is a very smart way to extend the service into more upmarket areas, but let us hope it does not over-emphasise how rough around the edges some of their other listings are!


Conde Nast has developed an influencer platform to sell alongside its media titles
Smart move.  Conde Nast has created a platform with 3,500 influencers who advertisers can activate at the same time as they buy media.  The network focuses on fashion and beauty and could be a really simple way for brands to launch new products and more.


A few CNY stats
Like Singles Day in November, Chinese New Year always sets new media records.  251m people used Alipay to exchange nearly $80m worth of ‘red envelopes’, Chinese TV gave away prizes to 150m people, and cinema records were broken, with $200m worth of tickets sold...


& finally…  Think Pokemon Go crossed with Ghostbusters
Obvious when you think about it...