Jan 16, 2018

The latest media pivot: voice

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Voice hardware and software took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, further proving that audio as a medium presents enormous opportunity for publishers and brands.

Why it matters: The Internet of Things is connecting life in unprecedented ways, from health care to home entertainment to transportation. At the center of user adoption and functionality of these new connected-devices is voice, not video.

  • "I think we should all obsess about voice," says GE CMO Linda Boff on Adlandia's podcast. "It almost reminds me of the early days of search and domain and what do you stand for."
  • "Voice is also challenging for brands. What's the role for a brand if visual is stripped down? I don't think it will be binary. I don't think everything will go to voice, but to me that's what we (as brands) should be focused on."

The pivot to voice comes at a time when short-form video as a means of audience development is taking a nosedive.

  • Facebook is changing its algorithm to lower the rankings of videos and content from publishers and brands.
  • YouTube, the largest video distributor globally by far, continues to battle brand safety issues, from terrorism to pornography.
  • User engagement for posts with short video is significantly less than short-form posts, slideshows and long-form posts, according to a Parse.ly study of premium publisher video on social.

To Boff's point, there is a striking similarity in the early days of voice vs. early days of search.

  • 30% of web browsing will be done via voice by 2020, according to the technology research firm Gartner. Presumably, a large chunk of those search commands could be monetized.
  • The U.S. search ad market is expected to grow to $45 billion by 2019.

The biggest differentiator between voice and text search is that Amazon is the company that is powering the voice search market, not Google. (Although Google's massive voice-activated gum-ball machine at CES shows it's an area they are pushing to win).

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 49 mins ago - Health

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee Molson Coors on Wednesday, including the 51-year-old gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

WHO official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

The big picture: As the number of confirmed cases reaches 60 in the U.S., the top health professional — who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration — is among several leading figures, in particular, Democrats, to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health