Data Digest #9: Nectar Cards and AI News Anchors

Data Digest #9: Nectar Cards and AI News Anchors

December 19, 2023

The cogs of the data world are perpetually turning. Data never sleeps. Brace yourself for an exciting overview into some of the top data news stories that have been gracing our screens over the past month.

Supermarkets Are Selling Loyalty Card Data to Third-Party Advertisers

You’d be hard-pressed to find a wallet in the UK that didn’t have either a Nectar or Clubcard in it. So many of us depend on loyalty cards to save money at the supermarket – but did you ever think about what happens every time you tap it up against the pay screen?

Turns out that Tesco and Sainsbury’s make around £300m per year by selling customer data acquired through loyalty cards to third-party consumer goods advertisers.

While both supermarkets have been met with a tidal wave of backlash in light of this news, Sainsbury’s chief executive, Simon Roberts, defended the company’s decision to sell customer data. Roberts told The Guardian that the anonymised data of Sainsbury’s customers was in safe hands, and that it would ultimately benefit consumers by tailoring ads to be more relevant to them.

We’re Entering an Era of AI News Anchors

It’s no news that AI is beginning to infiltrate nearly every facet of our modern lives. Whether we’re watching robot comedians perform at the Edinburgh Fringe, or asking ChatGPT what to eat for breakfast, AI is quickly becoming inextricably tied to the real world. But what’s the next big thing that AI is set to conquer, you may ask? The answer, it seems, is news broadcasting.

A new startup LA-based television network called Channel 1 is set to launch news broadcasts featuring AI-generated anchors. And these computer-generated anchors could be gracing our screens as early as 2024.

The news has stirred up a flurry of emotion on social media, with some ushering in this new era of technology, and others expressing fear and concern over the prospect. Is it an exciting and inevitable development or does it signal the end of human-led journalism? And, most importantly, will you be tuning in?

Boots is Expected to Launch an AI ‘Personal Shopper’

Buying a new lipstick can be more daunting than you might expect. Walking into the shop, perusing all the different shades on offer, trying to navigate the endless sea of brands on display – it’s easy to find the experience overwhelming. And more often than not, going online is just as arduous – you have to trawl the internet for hours, comparing reviews and prices. If you’ve ever faced this dilemma, you might just be in luck: Boots has announced plans to launch an AI ‘personal shopper’.

This ‘personal shopper’ is still in its testing stages, but if launched, it would use a chatbot software that would permit consumers to ask questions and receive product recommendations.

If approved, this AI tool could be about to make life a lot easier for the beauty obsessed among us.

Netflix Data Reveal Tells Us a Lot About Our Viewing Habits

If you spent countless hours decaying in front of your laptop screen this year watching reruns of Selling Sunset, you weren’t the only one. Netflix’s new engagement report reveals user trending habits for this year – and they might just surprise you.

According to the new report, users spent hundreds of millions of hours watching their favourite series between January and June this year. The Night Agent came in at first place, with users spending 812,100,000 hours watching. And perhaps unsurprisingly to some of us, shows like You, Love is Blind and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story proved to be particularly popular with Netflix’s audience.

One obvious takeaway from this new report is how much we collectively love a throwback – whether we’re rewatching our favourite series or tuning into an old-school classic for the first time. Breaking Bad Season 2, released in 2009, and Suits Season 1, released in 2011, both received over 100,000,000 views in that particular 6-month period.

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