With WPP’s over 200,000 employees and a $75 billion press book, Sir Martin has a uniquely privileged insight to the future of the internet marketing market. And he believes that 2018 might be the year that a third company joins what he requires the Facebook/Google “duopoly” in online marketing and search.
That company is, of course, Amazon he describes, cutely, as an “up and comer” in online advertising. Along with being a trade and internet services leviathan, Sir Martin forecasts, Bezos’ monster is going to turn into an advertising and search company.
Not that Sir Martin is composing either Facebook or, especially, Google. Really, he boldly indicates that Google might have a very clear lead in autonomous cars. And he’s optimistic about all of the planet’s seven dominant tech company (the Frightful Five plus Alibaba and Tencent) — who he collectively calls the “seven sisters”- in terms of their creation of AI. But even here he is particularly bullish on Amazon’s Alexa that, he believes, is winning at the voice-activation device war by “carpet-bombing” its rivals.
Through the years, Sir Martin has consistently argued that the big tech companies should have the same duties and accountability as traditional media firms. So will 2018 be the year the pig finally turns and the Frightful Five finally admit they are networking firms? Sir Martin believes that this could have really occurred in 2017 — citing Facebook’s decision last year to use 20,000 editors to track its videos.
And in 2018, he suggests, they will come to act increasingly like traditional media firms. And perhaps nobody should listen closely to this advice that Jeff Bezos, who Sir Martin describes as the “John D. Rockefeller” of the 21st century.