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jerryking : bamtech   5

Every Company Wants to Become a Tech Company–Even if It Kills Them
March 8, 2019 | WSJ | By John D. Stoll.

Wall Street loves a good reinvention story. The tough part is finding a happy ending.

All the plots seem to go something like this: Every company wants to convince us it’s becoming a tech company–even if it kills them..... an increasing number of companies are at least dabbling in new tech ventures to improve operations......The boom in vendors offering affordable ways to crunch data or utilize cloud computing, for instance, unlocks new strategies for companies across a wide variety of industries........Planet Fitness Inc. is one of the interested companies. The gym boasts 12 million members but CEO Chris Rondeau admits the company knows relatively little about them.

“Besides checking in the front door, we don’t know what members do,”.....The company is spending millions to retool certain treadmills and cardio equipment to better collect data as people exercise, commissioning a new smartphone app, and wants to tie into its customers’ wearable technology....many other CEOs aren’t convinced they have the luxury (of time to take things slowly). Even if it is hard to figure out what to do with all the data gathered and tools employed in the course of regular business, paralysis is not an option. Like a shark, they feel they need to keep swimming or die....... Nokia Corp., the Finnish company, started as a pulp mill in the 19th century and then branched off into various industries, including a successful venture into rubber boot making, ditched its failed mobile handset unit in 2013 to focus on a networks business that was thriving under the radar. Today, it’s locked in a high-stakes race to deploy 5G technology......In 2000, Major League Baseball owners committed $120 million to fund MLB Advanced Media. It aimed to infuse technology into the game and resulted in initiatives like online ticket sales and expanded radio coverage. The gem of that initiative, however, was a streaming television network launched in 2002...... it has attracted outside clients, such as ESPN, the WWE Network, Playstation Vue and HBO. The Walt Disney Co. acquired control recently for nearly $3 billion.... Dunnhumby Ltd., the data and analytics consultancy owned by European grocery chain Tesco PLC. Tesco bought Dunnhumby after it created the chain’s loyalty-card program. Dunnhumby ballooned into a storehouse of information and amassed clients and partners...Searching for the next BAMTech or Dunnhumby is now a religion at many companies......Walmart Inc., which has already heavily invested in e-commerce, wants to take its technology, marry it with everything the world’s largest retailer knows about us and use it to get into the advertising business......“Everyone’s thinking ‘we’ve got a ton of this stuff (data), how do we use it,’” Executives are trying to answer that question by hiring outside firms to analyze trends or setting up in-house units for experimentation.

Walmart is dumping digital-marketing agency Triad, a unit of WPP PLC, and will try its hand at selling advertising space. Armed with a trove of shopper data and connected to a chain of suppliers wanting to place ads in stores and on websites, Walmart hopes to challenge Amazon.com Inc. on this new front......At Ford Motor Co. , CEOJim Hackett envisions a day when automobiles roam streets collecting data from the occupants and the cars’ behavior like rolling smartphones. This is part of that “mobility as a service” vision car makers peddle.......“Corporations tend to reward action over thinking,”“But the truth is…you’ll find the companies that didn’t do the deep thinking and acted quickly have to redo things.
BAMTech  digital_savvy  Dunnhumby  experimentation  Ford  in-house  Jim_Hackett  massive_data_sets  MLB  Planet_Fitness  reinvention  Wal-Mart  mobility_as_a_service  technology  under_the_radar 
march 2019 by jerryking
Disney’s Big Bet on Streaming Relies on Little-Known Tech Company
OCT. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and JOHN KOBLIN.

For two days in June 2017, Disney’s board of directors wrestled with one topic: how technology was disrupting the company’s traditional movie, television and theme park businesses, and what to do about it?.....Cord cutting was accelerating much faster than expected. Live viewing for some children’s programming was in free fall......Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, proposed a legacy-defining move. It was time for Disney to double down on streaming..... bet the entertainment giant’s future on a wonky, little-known technology company housed in a former cookie factory: BamTech.....Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, the 850-employee company has a strong track record — no serious glitches, even when delivering tens of millions of live streams at a time. BamTech also has impressive advertising technology (inserting ads in video based on viewer location) and a strong reputation for attracting and keeping viewers, not to mention billing them.....BamTech grew out of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, or Bam for short, which was founded in 2000 as a way to help teams create websites. By 2002, Bam was experimenting with streaming video as a way for out-of-town fans to watch games.

Soon, Bam developed technology that attracted outside clients, including the WWE, Fox Sports, PlayStation Vue and Hulu. HBO went to Bam in 2014 after failing to create a reliable stand-alone streaming service on its own. Could Bam get HBO up and running — in just a few months? Bam built HBO Now for roughly $50 million, delivering it just in time for the Season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” which went off flawlessly. “They were nothing short of herculean for us,” said Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive.

In 2015, Bam decided to spin off its streaming division, calling it BamTech. With an eye toward its own direct-to-consumer future, particularly with ESPN, Disney paid $1 billion in 2016 for a 33 percent stake and an option to buy a controlling interest in 2020. To run the stand-alone company, M.L.B. and Disney recruited Michael Paull, 46, from Amazon, where he oversaw Prime Video and the introduction of Amazon Channels.....Disney contends that a big part of BamTech’s value has been overlooked. Down the road, as other media companies move toward streaming, BamTech intends to sign them up as clients.....Though BamTech has proved its streaming bona fides, it still lacks the algorithms and the personalization skills that have helped propel Netflix to success. To fill that gap, Mr. Paull recently hired the former chief technology officer of the F.B.I. to be the head of analytics.....The level of engineering required for that enormous volume of content is no small matter. Each bit of streamable content has to be made to fit a dizzying number of requirements. Start with web browsers, ranging from Safari to Chrome or Explorer, all of which have slightly different demands. It also has to fit every iPhone and Android phone. And then there are connected living room devices like Apple TV.
algorithms  BamTech  big_bets  boards_&_directors_&_governance  CEOs  cord-cutting  digital_savvy  digital_strategies  Disney  disruption  entertainment  game_changers  personalization  Quickplay  sports  sportscasting  streaming  theme_parks  direct-to-consumer 
october 2017 by jerryking

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