iZone Special: The digital side of Ogilvy Worldwide’s CEO, Miles Young

Technology and digitisation is impacting the advertising and media business, and individuals. In a series of conversations focusing on the “digital” side of CEOs, exchange4media speaks to Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy Worldwide on how technology has impacted his life, or not…

Noor Fathima Warsia 31-December-2010

iZone Special:  The digital side of Ogilvy Worldwide’s CEO, Miles Young

Technology and digitisation is impacting the advertising and media business, and individuals. In a series of conversations focusing on the “digital” side of CEOs, exchange4media speaks to Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy Worldwide on how technology has impacted his life, or not…

How often do you find yourself checking your mails?
I check mails every 15 or 20 minutes.

How many handheld devices do you have?

Have you experimented with any tablet yet?
Yes, I have one, the iPad.

What are the kinds of applications that one can find in your handheld devices?
Actually, not many. Weather is really important to me, because if I’m travelling between different climate zones, I need to know what to pack.

Even just for experience, have you used the augmented reality application your company designed for a client recently?

How many applications that you have are free and how many paid?
Some of them are free to me, but I think they are paid for by the company.

Do you still use notepads and pens for writing?
I do actually. I’m quite insistent with our trainees too, because that is a different form of notation that comes from manuscript and a different ability to pay attention to the tutor. I also use notepads for some compositions, for instance, if I’m away from the office and if I’m composing a really important all-staff memo, I always write it in my notepad.

Do you have any social media account?
I have a Twitter account. I’m not on Facebook and there is a very good reason, which is to do with you a lot! I have a strong point of view about people in business who use Facebook to their own personal advantage. There are CEOs who’ve got two to three people employed in a company just to invest in social media. And it’s not of any value to the company; maybe a value to the individual. I absolutely don’t want to do that. If I was to be on Facebook, I’d have to have someone to manage it unless it was a purely personal thing. And the other issue is the confusion of personal and public, so it’s very difficult. I have come across horror stories of client’s Facebook accounts being accessed by agencies and vice versa. It’s something we have to be careful about. And hopefully when I retire, I’d be on it. I’ll see you there then.

How active are you on Twitter?
Not very. It’s a question of time and also your purpose. So, if my purpose was to let everyone know I was here, Twitter is useful. It’s disadvantageous for me; total access is not always an advantage. Twitter is extremely useful if you’re building celebrity status, personally I have no wish to do that.

Where do you access Twitter from -- laptop or mobile device?
Laptop usually.

Do you find yourself arguing with clients over digital and how their approach should be?
Not arguing, but debating. It’s one of the biggest debates that we have at the moment with our clients. In parts, we’re trying to establish ourselves as interpreters of a digital landscape to them. Facebook and Google don’t give solutions, they are just channels. Someone has to turn their offering to a solution and make it sensible; that is the agency’s role. And a lot of what we’re doing at the moment is trying to get debate for what we’ve done so that it can become more strategic. One of the reasons why I’ve just hired a Chief Digital Officer.

You just mentioned that digital is not just OgilvyOne. It’s across all your disciplines. Does it ever irritate you if a client pegs digital as a separate spend?
It does not irritate me. It annoys me sometimes if we lose a digital business to pure play, because then I question why weren’t we strong enough to win it. I don’t believe in the pure play philosophy of treating digital as a specialism; that’s wrong. I recognise that some of them are very distinguished competitors, particularly in the US. There are some first class digital agencies and the industry as a whole has benefitted from them and from the expertise they’ve brought in.

How do you get your information on what is happening on the technological/ digital side?
You just get it day to day. It’s just about browsing out of curiosity. For instance, social media I’m quite interested in, so the deployment of social media in the communication mix. I read a speech recently and, therefore, I did a lot of research myself. They’ve also got a very strong social media practice, so their job is to deliver neatly digested views and I’m the lucky recipient to those. Then you have the reader experience of seeing what works and what doesn’t work in a client situation.

If we were to tell you that all things digital are going to cease in the next half hour, what would you do in the time that you’re still connected?
I would be sending some greetings to some close friends who otherwise wouldn’t hear from me for three weeks.

Also read:
Ogilvy India’s numero uno status & 2011 digital focus: Miles Young in conversation with e4m



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GOZOOP's journey: A decade, four acquisitions, and still hungry to expand

Now completing a decade, GOZOOP has successfully acquired four agencies - Red Digital, iThink, 56 Blue Lights and HAT Media

Venkata Susmita Biswas 2 hours ago


Fresh from the acquisition of HAT Media, GOZOOP co-founder and CEO Ahmed Aftab Naqvi is scouting for his next, fifth to be precise, acquisition. “The best relationships are win-win -  and we are on the lookout for our 5th,” he said. 

Over the last five years GOZOOP has grown capabilities in social media, events, and technology and real-time marketing. Completing its tenth anniversary this year, GOZOOP has acquired four agencies Red Digital – a social media agency ( acquired in 2013), iThink – a technology development enterprise (2014), 56 Blue Lights – an event & activations agency (2016) and HAT Media - a real-time marketing agency (2018). 

Naqvi told exchange4media that he further plans to expand the capabilities of GOZOOP in performance marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation, and traditional creative advertising through inorganic and organic growth. 

GOZOOP began a decade ago in a garage just when Indians were beginning to send each other friend requests on Facebook and Googling was second nature. Completely bootstrapped, GOZOOP has been growing at more than 100 per cent compounded growth rate over the last few years. 

Naqvi could not be more proud of the company he has built. At a time when companies founded by his peers are being acquired by large global networks, Naqvi says with pride that not only was the company bootstrapped from the beginning, but also that each of the acquisitions done so far have been completed without any external financial support. 

Through further acquisitions Naqvi hopes to expand the footprint of GOZOOP into Delhi, Bangalore, and then Chennai. The agency already has an office in Dubai which is led by Yamini Menon, founder 56 Blue Lights.   

Naqvi told exchange4media that the unique template that GOZOOP uses for acquisitions is the secret sauce that makes GOZOOP attractive to partner agencies. “We do not have a lock-in period like in network acquisitions. The founders of the companies are free to focus on their core capabilities while GOZOOP worries about cashflow, hiring, bottom lines, etc.” Menon in Dubai focusses her efforts on creative work while the co-founder of the recently acquired HAT Media Sunchika Pandey will lead the Citizen Initiatives & Government Organisation division of GOZOOP.  

Naqvi and his team believe in a culture of happiness, and that is what reflects in the template of these acquisitions, he says. 

GOZOOP was founded by Ahmed Naqvi, Dushyant Bhatia and Rohan Bhansali. The company’s roster of clients include Dell, Asian Paints, Parle Platina, Aditya Birla Group, Star Bharat, and Club Mahindra.

Principal Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Susmita is a digital marketing reporter at exchange4media. She writes on latest developments in the ever-changing world of digital media and in-depth stories on all things advertising.


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India’s OTT market has potential to reach $5bn by 2023: BCG Report

The number of players in the Indian OTT market have witnessed a 3.5x increase in the last six years growing from just nine players in 2012 to 32 in 2018, says the report

exchange4media Staff 2 hours ago


With India’s appetite for entertainment growing at break neck speed with high speed broadband connectivity, ease of payment options and availability of multiple platforms, the country’s OTT industry is poised to reach $5 billion by 2023, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report also mentions that the numbers of players in the Indian OTT market have witnessed a 3.5x increase in the last six years growing from just nine players in 2012 to 32 in 2018.

Titled ‘Entertainment Goes Online’ this report seeks to address the needs of the changing Indian consumer, learnings from other global markets, niche areas such as internationalization, music and regional acting as the key strategic imperatives and the agenda which can drive success in a market.

Overall, it is estimated that 16 percent of media consumption in India is already on digital media. Relative to developed countries, India is lagging. However, for the Indian youth, already 25 percent of media consumption is digital. This indicates that the growth in India is likely to catch up.

The digital consumption (relative to traditional TV and print) in India has been additive and not cannabilizing traditional media consumption.

The report has also identified three types of customers in the Indian market. The first ones are traditionalists, who primarily consume content on platforms other than OTT channels. Experimenters are the second type who have significant consumption on both conventional and OTT platforms. The third ones are the early adopters, whose primary consumption occurs on OTT platforms.

When it comes to investment on content made across OTT platforms, BCG report observed varied forms with different propositions:

 • Tent poles or hero content: heavily marketed, premium content (higher cost of production) aimed to bring new eyeballs on the platforms

• Hit movies: high budget movies which are expensive to buy, but attract eyeballs

• High profile sporting events

• Syndication of international content

• Original content / web series (Hindi, English and regional); build up library of differentiated content

• CAC (Content around content) specifically around reality TV, sports and others also covered on traditional TV

The report hinted at the possibility for multiple types of OTT models in India like subscription-based, advertising-based as well as transaction based.

Challenge lies with the retention of consumers where all platforms are struggling. According to the report, 81 per cent of consumers have up to three video/OTT apps on their smartphone. On an average 50 per cent of OTT apps installed are uninstalled in the first seven days of installation. The competition for user share is intense—every OTT platform is vying to be among the top three of the consumer’s attention.


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Isobar India launches tool to predict viral potential of content

viewCent is based on Deep Machine Learning and can precisely forecast the kind of consumer attention that a particular type of content can achieve within a specific given time

exchange4media Staff 18 hours ago


Isobar India, the digital agency from Dentsu Aegis Network, has announced the launch of ‘viewCent’, a tool in video-strategy for businesses that aim relevant eyeballs.

 viewCent is based on Deep Machine Learning and can precisely forecast the kind of consumer attention that a particular type of content can achieve within a specific given time. The resonance score for the content, which is called Viral Grade (VG), is calculated by collecting 400 different variables around that content. The variables are then fed into two patented AI engines – the Super Relevance EngineTM and the Viral Prediction EngineTM - to process the data, real time.

The agency is currently testing the Beta version of the tool for its key clients across automobile, apparel, appliances and technology.

Commenting on the launch, Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice President, Isobar India said, “At Isobar, we are constantly looking at developing tools which can help bring transparency in our brand marketing efforts. viewCent is one such tool that will be a one-stop video strategy solution for brands. viewCent will reflect the future of the content-consumer engagement and how well can that video resonate with its audience. This will help brands stay one step ahead of the curve by pre-empting trends and help take data-driven media decisions to improve media efficiency. It will also help build some science into the age-old question of whether a particular content will go viral or not.”

Speaking about the tool, Aditya Kaul, Senior Director- Insights & Analytics said, “Ability to pre-empt and quantify the viral potential of content opens up a plethora of business solutions for brands. These opportunities span from prolific content creation and effective media decision making to keeping an eye on competition and ensuring brand safety.”


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CNN Digital appoints Brett McKeehan to lead CNN Digital Asia

Based in Hong Kong, McKeehan will lead the Asia-Pacific team

exchange4media Staff 22 hours ago


CNN Digital has appointed Brett McKeehan as Director, CNN Digital Asia.

Based in Hong Kong, McKeehan will lead the Asia-Pacific team and have editorial responsibility for content coming from teams across the region for CNN Digital’s global audience.

McKeehan will work closely with CNN’s digital teams in London, Abu Dhabi, New York and Atlanta. McKeehan will build on and strengthen the robust and impactful journalism already produced by the Hong Kong bureau. He will lead an audience and data-centric approach to editorial strategy and maintain CNN’s Digital reputation as the world’s most trusted news source.

Before joining CNN, McKeehan worked at South China Morning Post as the Online Editor where he greatly expanded the team and substantially increased the reach of SCMP both in its home market and abroad. He also led the design, build and rollout of multi-platform editorial CMS for content production.

Before that, he was with NewsCorp in Australia after a stint with The Sun newspaper in the UK.

Speaking on the appointment, Inga Thordar, Executive Editor of CNN Digital, International said, “Brett’s editorial experience, understanding of the region and dedication to putting the audience at the core of everything we do, positions him for great success leading our Asia-Pacific region. His multi-platform skills perfectly complement the approach we are taking at CNN Digital internationally, and we are thrilled to have him join our team.”

McKeehan begins his new role effective immediately.


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By June 2019, we will give the duopoly a run for their money: Virendra Gupta, Dailyhunt

CEO and Founder, Virendra Gupta talks about competition, local language content, using AI and ML and taking on Google and Facebook

Venkata Susmita Biswas 1 day ago

Virendra Gupta

Homegrown news aggregator Dailyhunt could soon become the content platform that will challenge the duopoly of Facebook and Google in India.

At the moment, 157 million people, or 30 per cent of India’s internet population, use Dailyhunt on a monthly basis. The company’s aim is to grow this number to 250 million by June 2019. It is when the platform reaches this 250 million mark that it will truly give the tech giants a “run for their money” said Virendra Gupta, Founder - CEO of Dailyhunt. 

He was awarded the exchange4media Influencer of the Year award on Friday for his pioneering efforts to build a local language content platform. Even before Google and other digital platforms began focussing on vernacular as the key driver of the internet in India, Dailyhunt had identified a need-gap and began work to create a robust platform for Bharat and made in India. 

Gupta says Dailyhunt has heavily invested in adtech to build a platform that benefits advertisers and even helps small businesses advertise online through a self-serve option. 

Aggregating content from 1,500 news publishers and 20,000 stringers, Dailyhunt uploads as many as 100,000 new articles everyday. These articles pass through a strong recommendation engine that serves the right kind of content to those who are looking for it on the platform. 

Gupta spoke to exchange4media detailing the inner workings of Dailyhunt and how he and his team are cracking the vernacular audiences, building a strong recommendation engine and more.

Watch the video here or read the edited excerpts below:


What was your vision for Dailyhunt when you launched the company and how has that vision evolved over the years?

The core vision of Dailyhunt has remained the same throughout the life of the company. When we started the core vision was to bridge the digital divide in Bharat. So our first offering was to give local language news to people on the mobile phone. 

As you know, India is primarily a local language market. So our main aim was to bring local language news content online and help people who come online for the first time on mobile. Over time as the market has evolved, so have we. We have a broader vision and mission now to become the local language platform which empowers a billion Indians to discover consume and socialise content that enriches, informs and entertains them. 

You say that the mission now to become a local language platform that empowers a billion Indians. What are the steps you have been taking to reach this billion Indians residing in Bharat?

In 2012, no mobile phone could support a local language font; it could only support English. At that point of time we invented a platform which could render a local language font on a mobile phone. Now over a period of time that has become a core proposition of a handset manufacturer and the mobile operating system. 

Now we have built on the local language offering. We have got content from 1,500 publishers, 20,000 stringers on the platform. We have a strong Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Stack that helps diverse people find content of their choice. We have an app that serves auto-play videos in the language of the people. We also have partnerships  with publishers who do not have online content; we bring their offline local language content online. 

The entire digital industry is excited about the opportunities of Vernacular languages. How are you harnessing the power of vernacular languages?  

Exactly, local language and vernacular are the new sexy words after the launch of Jio. We have a lot of local language users coming online thanks to Jio. We are the only app offering a unique feed experience of local language content - be it news, entertainment, lifestyle, cricket, or health.  

Nobody has the width and breadth of local language content like we have with 1,500 verified publishers and 20,000 stringers. We take the responsibility to provide people with verified news and not propagate fake news. 

Thirdly, we are offering a unique opportunity for new content creators who want to create local language content to come on our platform and distribute and monetise their content. 

In addition, we are offering advertisers a platform to reach 150 million monthly active regional users. There are few of the things we have done to make sure we are harnessing this market in a big way.

Video is another V aside from Vernacular that is exciting digital players. By 2020, 500 million users are expected to be consuming video content online. How is Dailyhunt leveraging video content? 

The last 18 months saw a huge surge in video consumption where people have stopped bothering about the bandwidth they consume. Our platform is in fact becoming more and more video centric. We have introduced video auto-play and due to that our video consumption has gone up by 4X. 

We are soon launching a unique experience of non-linear TV on our platform. It is going to be a first-of-its-kind in the world which will offer hyperlocal experience in their language personalised in the genre they want. 

Our core belief is that video is going to be the next big driver of consumption and usage on our platform.

The duopoly of Facebook and Google attract as much as 80% of the digital ad spend leaving very little for platforms like DailyHunt. How do you battle this duopoly?

Our whole team is proud to build a product that is made in India and made for India. We love this David vs Goliath metaphor! We are addressing this on multiple levels. 

First, we are investing heavily in technology. We have a strong ML and AI engine that personalises content and ads. We are have adtech of our own, including auction, bidding and personalisation. We have invested upfront in technology so that we can offer advertisers the same amount of CTRs and flowthrough rates which Google and Facebook can offer. We are also opening our platform to small business with a self-serve option using with a small travel operator in Kochi can target people on a Pincode basis.  

If you go into the history of Google and Facebook you will see that their ad dollars shot up when their reach went beyond 200 million users. Today Dailyhunt is at 157 million MAUs, we will be about 250 million users by June 2019. As soon as we hit that mark, our ad monetisation will go to a different scale. Because then we become an intrinsic part of every media planner’s strategy. 

We have a unique regional audience which nobody has. This audience on a daily basis spends about 27 minutes on average on our platform. Finally, content on our platform is brand safe. All our OGC and User-Generated-Content is verified. 

These are all the ways in which we are building our whole advertising business and giving Google and Facebook a run for their money. 

In what ways do you use AI and ML at Dailyhunt for personalisation and recommendations?

The word personalisation has been bastardized by everyone in the industry. But let me tell you, personalisation is very hard to build. Personalisation is a very serious science and engineering problem and I would say we are one of the best companies in India who are invested into a personalisation experience for feed in local languages.  

Let me give you a sneak preview into what our personalisation engine does. We process in real-time 100,000 articles everyday. The machine is parsing all those articles in real-time into several categories by figuring out what the content is and matches that content to a user’s preference.

We personalise content based on a content graph. We categorise every article based on 10,000 different features and personalise those features with the consumption pattern of the user in real-time across 17 languages.  

Doing this has increased the time-spent on our platform and our CTRs have gone by by 17-18 per cent. We benefit greatly from our tech stack and the history of six years of data that we have from our users. 

How are you making your platform brand safe? Do you have any manual intervention to verify the content?

Ours is not an User Generated Content platform unlike YouTube. All the content that comes to our platform is onboarded by our team through a process that filters out bad content. Secondly, our machine learning algorithm captures signals on every article on which users give feedback. So if we have plenty of users give feedback on an article saying it is fake or improper, we suppress that article. 

We also continuously give feedback to our publishers on their content for them to learn and improve.  

Not only are you fighting the duopoly but also dozens of other news apps...

We are news aggregators. We think of ourselves as a complementary channel to the people who already have news content on news apps. You can divide the market into multiple segments - those who are brand fanatics who may only download the news app of that brand, and a large segment that wants to read content from multiple sources and aggregators offer that value proposition. 

We do a couple of things to keep everyone in the ecosystem happy: we attribute a comScore to the traffic which comes from our publishers, secondly we are one of the few apps that monetise at a large scale and give revenue back to our partners and we share a lot of data analytics back to our partners so that their newsrooms can improve. 

Every company has a next billion plan, what’s your next billion plan? 

Most people think that they can get the next billion users online by giving them racy content but my belief is if you want to get the next billion users online you have to first culturally understand those users. 

Once you culturally understand those users you need to build features and products around those users and consumer habits. That’s when people will come and stick with your platform. 

It is easy to get the next billion users and easier to lose them. We should not undermine the complexity of these users. They are aspirational and they have cultural values. So whatever you do, you need to be in sync with them to make sure they are engaging with your platform.    

Principal Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Susmita is a digital marketing reporter at exchange4media. She writes on latest developments in the ever-changing world of digital media and in-depth stories on all things advertising.


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65% of digital media to be programmatic in 2019: Zenith

Programmatic ad spend to grow 19% next year, reaching US$84bn

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


65% of all money spent on advertising in digital media in 2019 will be traded programmatically, according to Zenith’s Programmatic Marketing Forecasts, published today. Advertisers will spend US$84bn programmatically next year, up from US$70bn this year, which represents 62% of digital media expenditure. It is predicted that in 2020 advertisers will spend US$98bn on programmatic advertising, representing 68% of their expenditure on digital media advertising. By digital media, Zenith means all forms of paid-for advertising within online content, including online video and social media, but excluding paid search and classified advertising.

The breadth of ad formats available through programmatic trading is improving, with more mobile, video and audio formats coming online all the time, though brands and agencies need to do more to push publishers to improve the quality of their inventory, which needs at minimum to be safe and viewable.

Growth in programmatic advertising is slowing as it cements its position as the most important method of digital trading. Zenith estimates that programmatic adspend will grow 24% in 2018, down from 32% growth in 2017, and forecast 19% growth in 2019, followed by 17% growth in 2020.

In dollar terms, the biggest programmatic market is the US, where Zenith expects US$40.6bn to be spent programmatically in 2018 – 58% of the total. China is in a distant second place, spending US$7.9bn on programmatic advertising this year, followed by the UK, with US$5.6bn of programmatic ad spend.

The US is also the market that has most embraced programmatic advertising, trading 83% of all digital media programmatically this year. Canada is in second place, trading 82% of digital media programmatically, followed by the UK, with 76%, and Denmark, with 75%. By 2020, programmatic advertising will account for more than 80% of digital media in all four markets. Canada will have almost completed the transition to pure programmatic trading, spending 99% of digital media programmatically that year.

The forecast expects all markets to follow Canada and use programmatic trading for all digital media transactions eventually. Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before programmatic trading becomes the default method of trading for all media. However, the transition is taking slightly longer than expected – last year the forecast was that 64% of digital media would be programmatic in 2018, and 67% would be programmatic in 2019, so Zenith has pulled back both forecasts by two percentage points. The introduction of privacy legislation such as the EU’s GDPR has had some chilling effect by making certain data previously used in programmatic transactions unavailable, and making other data more costly to process. But according to Zenith, the main reason for the slowdown in spending on programmatic media is that advertisers are investing more in infrastructure and data to make their programmatic activity more effective.

To make the most of their programmatic campaigns, advertisers have to reorganise internally to give programmatic trading the high-level support and understanding it needs. Agencies can only extract maximum effectiveness from their programmatic strategy in a proper partnership with their clients. And a programmatic strategy can only ever be as effective as the data used to execute it.

“Programmatic trading improves efficiency and effectiveness, and is gaining a dominant share of digital media transactions,” said Benoit Cacheux, Zenith’s Global Head of Digital and Innovation. “The scale of operational restructuring to make the most of it is both extensive and expensive, though, and advertisers are spending more carefully while they invest in infrastructure and data and review the quality of media. All programmatic advertisers need a strategy for acquiring the best and most comprehensive data available, and to treat this data as a vital corporate asset.”

The most valuable data is first-party data, either explicitly provided by consumers or gained by tracking their activity on owned websites. It is also becoming more common to use second-party data, by forming data sharing partnerships, between – for example – brands and online retailers. Third-party data is widely available but does not give advertisers a competitive advantage, since all advertising parties can use it to target the same segments. Advertisers should continually vet and interrogate third-party data to ensure they are truly adding incremental reach. By combining all this data with their own CRM systems, advertisers can model consumer behaviour, and the more advanced are using machine learning to predict it. Data and new technology is enabling brands to move from tracking cookies to communicating with individuals.

“Technology is making programmatic advertising work harder for brands,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s Head of Forecasting and Director of Global Intelligence. “Artificial intelligence promises to unlock new understanding of customers as people, as well as improving the optimisation of the trading process.”



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Fear of AI out-skilling humans is a little overstated: Rahul Agarwal, Lenovo

The MD& CEO of Lenovo India spoke on 'AI: Implications for organisations and individuals' at the exchange4media Conclave

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago

Rahul Agarwal

"Artificial Intelligence is not a fancy thing which is sitting in some other planet. But it is something that is touching our lives already,” said Rahul Agarwal, CEO & Managing Director of Lenovo India, as he took to the stage during the exchange4media Conclave held in Mumbai on Friday.

Watch the video here or read the article below:

Speaking on the topic ‘AI: Implications for organisations and individuals’, Agarwal started his session highlighting that most people may not have a clarity on what AI actually is, but they all have some interface with it in their daily lives.

“For example, when you interact for after-sales or sales queries, you may be talking to an AI-based chatbot and not a human being. Similarly, smart assistants and smart speakers use AI, online ads served to you use AI and social media platforms use AI to serve customised content to users,” he said.

Agarwal mentioned that AI is not new and that it has been around since 1940s. “However not much happened till about 1990. In fact, people have started talking more about it in the last two decades. And it is only in the last six-seven years, that it has really become hot,” he said.

So, if AI has been around for a long time, what is it that is making it a buzz word now? According to Agarwal, it is the convergence of three factors - data generation, computing power and algorithmic advancements — in the recent times that has led to AI gaining prominence. 

Agarwal believes that functions of an organisation can be vastly enhanced by AI and it’s up to the organisations to decide whether they want to be a follower or take a lead and get that competitive edge by using AI. “AI can bring three things to any organisation — better customer experience, more efficiency and better product and services,” he said.

Talking about the possible implications of AI for on organisation like Lenovo, Agarwal spoke about how it will improve the 6 Ps — Product innovation, Pricing of products, People hiring, Promotion of products & services, Place selection for stores, and Post-purchase services.

Agarwal also shared with the audience the various investments that Lenovo has made on AI. “Lenovo is doing a lot in AI. We started investing about three years ago. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on AI, and the results have started showing. We have also invested in 8-10 AI companies, and in the next 12 months we are going to roll out products which will have AI as their backbone,” he said.

“Further, we are doing a diagnostic assistance for cancer in China. We have done a prototype where remotely just by looking at the cells, experts in the US can tell what is the degree of the cancer and what is the possible treatment. Also, we have already launched smart speakers, assistants and chatbots,” he said. A retail solution in the form of a man-less store and a smart service assistant which will go beyond chatbots were among some of the other AI-based innovations of Lenovo that Agarwal talked about. 

After organisations, Agarwal talked about the implications that AI has on customers. According to him, AI will make people more productive. “We got to feel good about the fact that it will de-clutter our lives. It will make our lives more convenient and better. There will be ‘smart homes’, ‘smart washing machines’ and ‘smart refrigerators’.  Refrigerators will order on its own, the washing machine will order the washing powder on its own. And the smart home assistant will do a whole lot of things for which we run around today,” he said.

“AI will also give us better choices in life. AI can help us choose our products better. If we want to buy a product, different profiles of people will get the right choices based on AI models. So our lives will definitely improve as a customer,” he said.

He further added, “As an employee also, AI will help us improve our productivity because a lot of jobs will be done by AI engines and we will be able to do much more than what we are doing today. Marketers will be able to show lot more value add to clients on media management. There will be far more effectiveness in creative efficacy and ROI measurement if you have the right AI tools.”

Talking about employment, Agarwal said that AI may make some jobs obsolete, like email marketing. Agarwal acknowledged that there is a fear about people being outskilled by AI. He, however, said that the “fear is a little overstated”.  “When industrialisation and computerisation happened, they all said that the machines will take over the humans. But that never happens because we have an uncanny ability to not just tide over technology but ride over technology and master it. So the future is always full of hope as well as paranoia,” he said.

The MD & CEO finally closed his session with three tips to tide over the phase of confusion. “Keep improving your understanding of AI, keep upskilling and keep calm and do not get paranoid,” he signed off.


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We’re standing at the edge of a precipice when it comes to AI: Tamara Ingram, JWT

At exchange4media Conclave, Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson addressed the future of creativity particularly in the context of AI

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago

Tamara Ingram

From smartphones to driverless cars, there is no denying that artificial intelligence is pretty much becoming commonplace. But what does AI mean for creativity? Does it mean the ability to gain an intelligent creative or marketing "assistant" that can take on these less creative tasks, thereby freeing you to focus on being truly strategic in your work? Should you embrace it or does it pose as a threat?

Answering all this at the exchange4media Conclave which took place on November 16 in Mumbai, Tamara Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson, the Headline Speaker at the annual event discussed ‘Hu(man) and Machine’, and whether AI can be creative.

Watch the video here or read the article below:


Ingram addressed the future of creativity particularly in the context of AI. “Five years ago, I never thought that a machine, something like AI will replace what it means to be human,” she exclaimed.

The CEO discussed media, how creativity is placed and how AI can help with it all. “AI is going to ask us fundamental questions on what it is to be human. “It’s only fair to say that at the moment, we’re standing at the edge of a precipice when it comes to AI and data,” reflected Ingram. She asserted that the power that AI has, it is changing the way, we are teaching people, it is changing the way products are generated and that in the end will change creativity. 

She revealed that if you actually Google search, you will see 4.9 billion searches for creativity and 4.2 billion searches for AI. “AI is becoming as important in people’s minds as creativity,” Ingram said.

Addressing the dilemma whether AI is a friend or foe, she reflected, “What I found distressing is that when you think about AI that people are very concerned about their jobs and the consequences. When we look at Facebook, American elections and what happened, we think that the information that AI fetches is a help to creativity or is it going to dampen the impact and differentiation.”

Ingram shared that her contention today is that there is nothing new in AI. “What’s new is the power of what we can do with AI and the power of how it can either help us with creativity or take away from it,” she pointed out.

She highlighted AI’s power of prediction. “Humans have emotions and that may affect our predictability. The machine has the power to predict like nothing else can. It enables us to predict cancers and generate personalised medicines. It’s enabling us to save the world. Products, after all, are things that solve problems. Our job is around producing and marketing of these live-changing products. I believe it will change the world to something much better than what we are seeing.”

She touched upon how Alexa is leveraging fashion algorithms that can now help people decide between what looks better on them. “It’s human insight but the more we leverage machine-learning, we help people in choosing what they want to wear, eat and how they want to live their lives.”

Ingram contended that while there’s huge optimism, AI has no judgement and has no morality. “It is an algorithm, a formula. It learns from everything it sees.” She explained that how we program our AI, where the morality of thinking is also becomes an important part of our creativity. Ingram emphasised that AI is completely a formula, it can produce art and showcase how it can even make the next Rembrandt.

Making a strong case for the power of imagination, she said, “What makes a difference to creativity is the use of imagination. It is not predictability that makes something a first.” The CEO shared the example of Nike and how it changed the emotions about cricket with their ingenuity.

Ingram also asserted that it is the humour and the imagination of human that makes a difference. “I don’t think that machines have something to pick on something culturally relevant and decide on how funny it can be. “

She went on to add that creativity never stands still. “All of us need to stop taking humans to one side and machines to another. We need to bring them together,” Ingram hinted. Decoding three pillars she believes in, “Humanity, creativity and technology, we believe, is the trick in today’s world.  It’s about bringing these three things together, understanding the insights, what will move people, make them laugh and then doing it with technology because it allows us to bring brand experiences to life in a completely fresh way.”

Ingram shed light on how technology can help brands with more differentiation, sharing the example of the KitKat ad campaign which leveraged technology, brand and human insight smartly.

She went on to advise that all of us need to use AI and master the rules to optimise it to its advantage. “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. AI is here to help. There are rules but to be creative, be differentiated but you have to use them,” spelled out Ingram.


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We would have made Sacred Games at 40% less cost: Dr. Subhash Chandra

Dr. Subhash Chandra, in an interview with exchange4media, says that ZEEL has a mindset of a content maker while Netflix and Amazon have a trading mentality

Annurag Batra 5 days ago


Dr. Subhash Chandra, Chairman, ZEE & Essel Group, believes that if ZEEL had created Sacred Games, it would have cost 40 per cent less than its actual production cost.

“Our people did an analysis of Netflix's Scared Games and said that the same show with the same artistes could have been done 40 per cent cheaper. And yet my producer would have had 15-20 per cent growth,” said Dr. Chandra during an interview with exchange4media. 

He further said, “Our mindset and DNA is of a content maker, whereas the Netflixes and Amazons of the world, Amazon particularly, have a trading mentality.”

Scared Games is the first original series from Netflix in India. Based in Mumbai, the series revolves around a contemptuous Mumbai policeman Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) who is tipped off on the location of crime lord Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). As the lives of these two men collide, it exposes the trappings of a game bigger than both of them. The eight-part series was helmed by acclaimed filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.

(With inputs from Sonam Saini)

Annurag Batra is a serial entrepreneur, media mogul, a journalist and an eternal optimist rolled into one. He is a B. Tech in Computer Sciences, a degree, which he acquired before joining Management Development Institute MDI Gurgaon (Now its Gurugram), one of India's leading Business School. He is a first generation entrepreneur and after acquiring the iconic business media and magazine brand BW Businessworld. a 35 year strong media brand as well as most respected business publication in the country.


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Shantanu Gangane resigns from Viu India

Industry sources have confirmed to e4m that the Chief Marketing Officer of OTT service Viu India has stepped down

Madhuwanti Saha 5 days ago


Shantanu Gangane, Chief Marketing Officer, Viu India, has resigned from Vuclip after a stint of more than 1.5 years. Industry sources have confirmed the development with exchange4media. We reached out to both Gangane and Viu India who haven’t responded till the time of filing this article. He had joined Vuclip in January 2017.

Viu-India is US-based Vuclip’s OTT service launched in 2016. It has launched 12 originals in the first half of 2018.

Prior to this, Gangane was at Times Television Network where he served as the Head of Marketing since August 2014. He was also the Associate Business Head of Movies Now at Times Group between April 2013 and June 2014 after being the Head-Marketing since September 2010.

For three years, he was Senior Manager, Marketing, MTV at Viacom18 Media between September 2007 and August 2010. Prior to that, between December 2005 and August 2007, he was the Senior Brand Manager at Radio City India before which he was the Manager- Marketing at Nickelodeon for 10 months between March 2005 and December 2005.

He started his career with FCB Ulka as a client servicing manager in June 2003.

Senior Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Madhuwanti reports on marketing, OTT and radio with a focus on trends. Based in Mumbai, she has worked across lifestyle, culture, television and retail industry.


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