Boz Gets A New Gig; Roku Races Ahead

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Facebook’s longtime VP of ad products, Andrew Bosworth, will transition to lead the company’s hardware initiative. Bosworth, or “Boz,” will oversee Oculus and all projects at Building 8, Facebook’s hardware incubator. Facebook ads engineer Mark Rabkin will succeed Boz in his role. Boz’s first project will be to oversee the rollout of Facebook’s home video-chat device. Building 8 is also working on a smart speaker like Amazon’s Alexa, a 360-degree video camera and various wearables, according to Business Insider. And while Amazon has focused on consumer adoption of its devices, only gradually letting marketers participate, Boz’s appointment could signal that Facebook will be more willing to integrate advertising. More.

All Systems Ro’

Roku strengthened its category-leading position in the streaming media device market, according to data from connected-device research firm Parks Associates. Roku was an early entrant to the market, and has managed to remain on top despite Google, Amazon and Apple joining the fray. The startup owned 37% of the market during the first quarter of 2017, up from 33% during the same time last year. (Amazon’s move from 16% to 24% was the biggest jump, and Apple is the only major player losing share.) On top of its hardware business, Roku has earned a reputation as the most ad tech-friendly streaming video ad market, with an open platform that accounted for about $100 million of the company’s overall revenue of $500 million last year [AdExchanger coverage]. Roku’s durability in the market is also good sign for linear broadcasters, who are looking for OTT distribution from companies that aren’t encroaching on their core media and telco businesses.

Blaming The Tools

Advertising agency veteran Michael Farmer wrote a bracing column at MediaVillage shifting the lens onto the ANA for the ongoing ad industry trust and transparency crisis. Before the ANA published its investigation of media agency practices last year, there were “other long-term transparency issues that ought to bring embarrassment to ANA and provide fodder for 4As,” Farmer says. There’s tough love for the 4As too, which he says has presented a “weak and ineffective” case on behalf of its members. More.

Distribution Is King

Disney’s decision to pull away from Netflix and launch its own streaming service demonstrates the tough spot in which the streaming economy has put traditional content owners. In severing ties with Netflix, Disney isn’t just letting go of a lucrative licensing deal, but tacitly admitting that content has ceded its throne to distribution. In a world where data increasingly informs TV viewing habits, entertainment companies not only have to own great content but also control its distribution, something they’d previously considered a low-cost commodity. “Is the network – the platform – now most important?” wonders Michael Olson, a consumer internet analyst at Piper Jaffray. More.

Amazon IRL

After Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition closes next Monday, what sort of integrations can we expect? For one, Amazon Prime will start hooking into Whole Foods’ point-of-sale systems. As with all things Amazon, the immediate benefit will be to consumers, who will start to see discounts and in-store benefits. But Amazon will surely gain new insight into its Prime customers’ brick and mortar shopping habits. Will marketers eventually be able to leverage these learnings? Hard to say. After all, Amazon tends to keep its data assets under lock and key. But it’s fair to say that Amazon is soon going to get a whole lot smarter. More.

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