Introducing Digiday magazine: The Big Ideas issue

We are closing our seventh issue of Digiday magazine. The fall issue is focused on “big ideas,” with our writers pursuing big ideas that can change media and marketing.

One theme kept standing out: Amazon. It used to be that Google would come up repeatedly in any discussion for its potential to upend [fill in the business here]. Nowadays, you’re more likely to hear Amazon in that discussion. We’ve focused on Amazon’s growing role in media, taking a look at its burgeoning programmatic ad business and how it is positioning itself to ad agencies.

In our Big Ideas issue, Shareen Pathak examines how Amazon could upend media and marketing — and make the duopoly into a triopoly — by using its stranglehold on purchase data. In the fight for the future of media, data is the new oil, as The Economist has pointed out repeatedly. Google has reams of intent data, while Facebook is the biggest snoop in the history of mankind. But Amazon brings real purchase data to the table — a lot of it. Shareen’s take:

“For most people in the marketing world, it’s not really a question of if Amazon will go all-in on advertising — just when. Amazon’s moves to becoming a giant ad platform that can pose a serious challenge to the Google-Facebook duopoly have been fascinating to watch. While most buyers agree its current platform is pretty rudimentary when it comes to what it provides (one observer said Amazon is where Google was eight years ago in terms of its offerings), it’s undeniable it’s got scale. Unlike Google and Facebook, which tell you what people are looking for and what they’re interested in, respectively, Amazon has the trump card in that it knows what people want to actually buy. It’s going to take it slower than expected: Amazon’s party line is that its ad programs, like its retail offerings, start with the customer and go backward. That explains the caution. But couple that kind of data with some minor mechanical tinkering on the platform, from continuing to open up self-service and API access, putting some serious muscle behind its Pinterest-y social network Spark and maybe merging AMG and AMS services, and Amazon has more than a shot at making some room for itself.”

Amazon pops up again in a piece by Lucia Moses about how Amazon is poised to dominate entertainment based on a business model that can simply outspend rivals — if Amazon fully focuses on entertainment. From Lucia’s piece:

“Amazon’s biggest trump card in its entertainment ambitions is that they help it sell toilet paper. Amazon is bulking up on all this entertainment because it’s critical to Amazon Prime, which is fueling much of Amazon’s growth. Prime members spend twice as much — $1,300 — a year on Amazon than non-Prime members. Prime also gives Amazon data on its shoppers, which it can use to target more products and ads to them. So adding entertainment to Prime’s free shipping benefits gives people more incentive to join and renew their subscription, and watch more Amazon video.”

The issue will also feature Digiday sister publication Glossy’s list of 50 people driving the modernization of fashion, luxury and beauty. Our team highlighted everyone from the hotshot head of digital at a renowned fashion house to the editorial director rethinking how fashion publications operate in a fraught political environment. From Glossy editor-in-chief Jill Manoff:

“Our Glossy 50 list represents those who have contributed to the transformation of fashion, luxury and tech in the past year. Rather than the CEOs whose names you know, they’re the insiders you should know, including sustainability experts, data scientists, editors and heads of innovation.”

We’re going to start rolling out the Glossy 50 next week on Glossy, and expect the new issue to be available digitally next week and in print later in the month.

Finally, consider joining us at a Digiday+ members event during Advertising Week in New York City. Shareen is hosting a special “wheel of truth” session on Sept. 28 with top execs from J&J, Grey and Vox Media. Immediately following the session, we’re having a members-only cocktail hour at B&B Kings in Times Square. Register here to join us for both the panel and cocktails. Hope to see you there!

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