Top Stories

Amazon Music Debuts Voice Feature to Customize Playlists

Amazon Music debuted a voice feature that lets Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music customers on Echo devices and in the Amazon Music iOS and Android apps converse with Alexa to find playlists and music for specific moods. The listener can identify songs by lyrics, among other features, and reject or “like” individual songs. Amazon’s overall aim is to allow each listener to create a more customized listening experience. Amazon is also in trials with a feature that allows Alexa Answers to be shared worldwide. Read more

PwC Research Reveals Media Execs’ Reluctance to Adopt AI

Media companies continue to adopt a variety of digital technologies, but have proven to be more reluctant than other industry sectors to embrace artificial intelligence. That’s the finding of PwC, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. executives for its “2019 AI Predictions” report. Covering many industry sectors, the research revealed that 20 percent of these companies plan to deploy AI next year. But media companies are still in the very early stages of enabling AI, and only a few with an AI business case. Read more

Retailers Adopt Software, Chatbots to Hone Customer Service

To battle Amazon’s ubiquity and customers’ fickle loyalty, some retailers are testing the new Customer 360 software from and Freshworks to improve their customer service. The software lets retailers build shopper profiles similar to Facebook to better understand what each customer wants and increase the odds that he or she will become more loyal to the retailer in question. Other strategies retailers are employing are the use of improved chatbots and better customer support training. Read more

Internal Emails Reveal the Way Facebook Treated Companies

Based on 250 pages of internal Facebook emails and documents from 2012 to 2015 and released by a U.K. parliamentary committee, it’s been revealed that Facebook used its massive cache of data to favor some companies, such as Airbnb and Netflix with “special access,” and punish others by cutting them off. Further, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg were closely involved in decisions to “increase sharing back into Facebook” and other moves to primarily benefit the company. Read more

AT&T Chief Outlines Future WarnerMedia Streaming Platform

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson revealed that investing in more HBO programs is a target for the coming year, as WarnerMedia readies its direct-to-consumer subscription platform due to launch by end of 2019. HBO will anchor the as-of-yet unnamed service, which will also offer original programming and other WarnerMedia content year-round. Stephenson did stress, however, that AT&T won’t spend the $11 billion that is Netflix’s current annual budget for content. Read more

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