Amazon’s ambitious drive into digital-advertising

AN AWARD-WINNING series, “The Marvellous Mrs Maisel”, follows the fortunes of a woman in the 1950s who undergoes an unlikely transformation from a typical housewife of the day into a talented standup comedian. It is produced by Amazon and can be viewed on Prime Video, the e-commerce giant’s on-demand service. Since its birth in 1994, Amazon has starred in several dramatic metamorphoses of its own. It has pushed beyond retailing into fields as varied as electronic books, private-label goods and cloud computing, as well as online video. Now it is intent on becoming a force in digital advertising.

Amazon has a long way to go before it catches up with the giants of the industry. It has 4% of an American market worth $111bn, compared with Google’s 37% and Facebook’s 21% (see chart). But Amazon started experimenting with ads only six years ago, and its young business is growing fast in a rapidly expanding market. By the end of the year...



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