- Amazon launched an Alexa Video Skill API, allowing companies to teach its artificial intelligence (AI) feature how to interface with video content and services, per an Amazon news post.
- The video skill lets companies create seamless experiences for end users such as automatically finding and consuming video content. Companies can create skills that give customers the ability to control content by connecting Alexa's video capabilities to company applications.
- DISH, Netgem and YouView are all already building skills using the Alexa Video Skill API that give users voice control over their products and services.
Personal digital assistants like Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant remain a vexing technology for marketers. For one, the tech is still very new, making it a challenge for marketing messaging, but it is becoming more widespread. Amazon announced in March that it’s integrating Alexa into its main app giving the AI technology a wider footprint.
One aspect of the various flavors of AI-tech that marketers are looking forward to is a new vehicle for first-party data, but at least with Amazon the data sharing is limited to the number of unique users of their content streams and the total number of “utterances” related to Alexa skills with developers and brands.
Given the prevalence of video in content marketing, Amazon’s Alexa Video Skill API could provide opportunities for brands to launch video content. But brands might want to get more explicit buy-in for the interaction than Burger King sought with its TV spot in April that hijacked Google Home devices. The chain's "Connected Whopper" spot automatically triggered Google Assistant in Google Home and Android devices, prompting Google to shut down the ad's functionality. It generated the wrong kind of buzz for the company, and serves as a prominent cautionary tale for brand's looking to use Alexa and similar devices to reach customers.