Tag Archives: content

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Your Friend or Foe in the Entertainment Industry?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently used in the entertainment industry. Combined with machine learning (ML) it can help networks and others get their content seen by the right people(1). It can also suggest to viewers what to watch next based on their interests. The key? Analyzing the metadata that’s used in the search optimization, ad targeting and recommendations.

How does machine learning help program AI?

By:

  • Using natural language processing to analyze the dialogue in the TV show. To creates a series of themes
  • Analyzing the dialogue between actors helps it and AI examine the mood and personality traits of the main characters which allows consumers to find specific scenes and episodes
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of the video content. An example? The personality traits being displayed by an actor.

For example, Amazon uses AI to analyze scenes, objects and faces. It helps the company figure out what the viewers are clicking on.

When media and entertainment (M&E) businesses use ML, it helps them:

  • build logo and brand recognition and
  • determine how audiences are reacting to the content. The data can be used to market, personalize and stop consumers from switching to another service.

As AI starts using voice search in devices, the pay TV industry uses it to improve the viewer experience. An example? Food Network launching a search capability on Amazon voice enabled devices (Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV). The viewer asks the devices about Food Network programs, schedules, recipes and more.

In the advertising world, AI can be used to personalize the content for the customer and advertiser. By using content intelligence, AI can examine what the viewers are watching and when and provides the advertiser a one to one marketing approach to the viewer.

Advertisers should consider AI as their partner that helps them analyze the data to find a fast solution (2). The pros and cons of using AI?

Pros:

  • AI can be used for targeting and helping discover people to target the ads. It includes bidding efficiently for the ads and
  • AI can be used to build B2B sales leads.

Cons:

  • AI can’t answer questions that have a broad answer. For example, it can’t recommend which social media platform to use for an advertising campaign (there’s no consistent measurement across these platforms)
  • AI can’t analyze data from consumer surveys or media consumption data. Media planners need to define the data before AI analyzes it and
  • AI can’t write long ads.

In the film industry, AI helps a movie studio figure out whether or not to make the film by analyzing the screenplay. Or determines the box office potential of a film before it’s released by using a neutral network algorithm to analyze 30 years worth data (box office revenues, film budgets, audience demographics and casting information).

Here are two examples where AI was used to write a short screenplay or scene:

  • an AI named Benjamin wrote the short film Sunspring by examining hundreds of movie scripts from the 80’s and 90’s. This is the first time an entire screenplay has been written by AI.
  • In the film “It’s No Game”, AI was used to write David Hasselhoff’s line. The machine learning algorithm learned to create long sentences based on learning rules from a corpus (composed of dialogue taken from several collections of films and television series) of writing. Another algorithm was used to create short sentences from the words.

AI can automatically create an edited clip that can be sent to another company or given to a human editor to create the final clip. For instance, IBM Watson selected the 10 most usable moments from the horror movie “Morgan.” The human editor created the movie trailer from the clips. This was done in 24 hours instead of taking 10-30 days using a human editor.

As machine learning continues to evolve, media companies can use the technology to create other types of content such as series and movie reviews (AI can find the data from different reviews to see what the critics or consumers are saying about it on social media or online).

AI should be seen as a partner.

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It’s Not About You. It’s About Them

This blog post was born from a Twitter conversation I had with @Vincidia social media team; and Kris Nagel’s video on converting viewers to payers – http://snip.ly/n66c#http://www.vindicia.com/videos/kris-nagel-otttv-summit-converting-viewers-payers/. Thank you for the inspiration! Opinions are my own. 

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Some content creators think the content should stand on its own. 
Without any analysis to determine what works. Or doesn’t.

Unfortunately, they continue to live in a dream world or are denying reality. What they’ll soon realize is this. That they don’t have a choice in the matter.

Audiences around the world are fickle. They’re flipping through tv channels (or OTT shows) rapidly. Trying to find something that catches their eye. Something to binge watch for a few hours. It’s hard for anything in the cable/broadcasting/OTT world that catches their attention. Even by creating compelling content, there’s no guarantee that the viewer will tune in.

As a result, in the OTT world, it comes down to ease of use. The recommendations the algorithm spits out after you’ve watched a program. How easy it is to sign up for the service. 

But, what if I wrote that there’s a company who can solve these problems. Without having to sign up new viewers. Who already has a massive built in international audience? Someone who can give out the statistics when a viewer has engaged the content. Who can give the content providers the exact data they need? And, in short, is essentially an OTT?

The company? Facebook.

It’s becoming a video powerhouse. Showing other companies content like Amazon Prime (http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/13/amazon-catastrophe-facebook/) for short periods of time. 

Monetization problem? What monetization problem? Each time a person hits the subscribe button, it gives the company, content creator and advertiser crucial metrics to see who’s watching. And maybe allow the content creator enough time to adjust the plot in future episodes to target their demographic to maximize the affect on the audience.
Of course Facebook continues to add people at a rapid pace. So it does have an advantage when it comes to getting the biggest audience. And companies such as the Discovery Channel have figured out how to use it for short bursts of time (http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/discovery-facebook-president-obama-1201518830/) to promote their product or partner with it for social causes. Without compromising their own cable or OTT channels. 
But what happens when FB finally decides to produce its own programming? Shutting out others as they tweak their algorithm to favor their own content? Will organizations like the EU accuse it of anti-competitive practices? 

How will the dynamics of the industry change? The strongest (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime) will survive. The others? Maybe. If they focus on their niche. And manage to grow their audience over time. 

FB? I predict it’ll do very well if it decides to produce its own programming/content. With its massive reach, the ability to determine who is viewing the content (and when), the company is virtually unstoppable. It can offer exactly what the advertiser needs, especially in the growing baby boomer and above demographics. The ones who have the money. And are continuing to log into the service and stay for hours at a time.

A possible solution to a content provider. Without having to go the OTT route.

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Who’s the broadcaster now?

Picture this.

You’re at a fight. Ring side seats. You paid a lot of money. Nothing will ruin your mood.

Until you see people filming the fight via their smartphones. Transmitting short clips using Periscope or Meerkat. The picture? Grainy. Uneven. Short. But the idea is there – paid people “thinking” that they’re helping others by transmitting clips of the fight to others via social media.

How do would you feel? Some would feel that they were ripped off. Others, would feel good that they’re sharing the fight with others (free).

Now, pretend you’re HBO. A part of you would be peeved. You paid big money. Even though you got record PPV views, you want to monetize all the content (the live sporting events generates the biggest audience). Even though your social media team is monitoring Twitter (and notifying them and Meerkat) to shut down the feeds, it’s not enough. For every one that is caught, more pop up.

And that’s the problem:

Not only is everyone is becoming a broadcaster but the sticky issue of broadcasting rights comes into play, especially in the sports field (http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/05/18/periscope-meerkat-threaten-teams-hold-video-feeds-sports-arenas/W9qIdrhi5A5DhhAwjkMIKK/story.html). 

That’s the dilemma facing everyone. As a content creator (sports etc), you want to engage your fan in their medium. Not only to encourage interaction but to drive the eyeballs/sales to your product. As a fan, you’re showing your “love” of the product by sharing this with the world.

Is there a solution that will satisfy everyone? 

Probably not. 

The joys of M&E (media and entertainment) -> nothing stands still. And it’s constantly changing. 
P.S. I’d like to argue that before Meerkat and Periscope arrived, people were already broadcasting concerts etc via their smartphones or uploading them to YouTube a day later to share with everyone.

P.P.S. Even from a payments perspective, would it be hard to monetize the content (eg: smartphone user transmitting clips to his or her friend)? I don’t know. And that’s why I love this sector. So many challenges. Tons of solutions.

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Pipes? Without them, no content

I love reading this article. It proves that the pipes (cable, fibre optic) aren’t important. The content is. While the author has a point, some would argue that you need both to succeed in the marketplace (eg: Comcast-NBC Universal, BCE-Bell Media).  Or the deep pockets (i.e. money) you need to buy the content (an excellent example? Telus in Canada. It avoided becoming an integrated content and pipe company and focused on the thing it did best -> building the infrastructure (pipes)). 

Personally? I’ve always favored the companies who built the pipes (cable, fibre). And refrained from buying any studios. It showed discipline. Guts. They knew their clients will always find the content they need on the Internet. If they decided to buy a bundle from them (studios need to find outlets for their content) for convenience sake, even better. 

Pipes. The keys to delivering your content. Without them, there’s no content to see in the first place.
http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/tv-power-shifts-from-network-biz-to-content-ownership-1201499840/

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