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Interview with Rajat Nigam, Chief Technology Officer, Network 18 Media

September 27, 2018
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Interview with Rajat Nigam, Chief Techno...
The media and entertainment sector has been rapidly increasing the use of technology to enhance business performance and efficiency. Information and communication technology (ICT) is playing an important role in various functions of the industry such as operations, product enhancement and service delivery. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and data analytics hold a promising future in this space and are already seeing deployment at various levels. However, the deployment of new-age technologies and cutting-edge ICT solutions is laden with several challenges, including the lack of adequate IT infrastructure. Rajat Nigam, Chief Technology Officer, Network 18 Media talks about the ICT trends in the media and entertainment industry…

What role is ICT playing in the media and entertainment industry? How has data explosion impacted the way business is being conducted?

Today, IT and IP are at the core of technology solutions and functional workflows being adopted in the media space. The media and entertainment sector is about content and its entire value chain from generation to consumption. At each step IT has a role to play. The upcoming content standard of 4k/UHD-TV can hardly exist without IT-driven solutions and formats.

Media and entertainment has become an essential part of an individual’s daily life. The character of media is transforming from being broadcast to narrowcast to unicast. Data is at the fore of all business functions and decisions. While on the one hand this has enhanced the role of technologists, on the other, it has created a new category of professionals. The culture shift driven by data is also accompanied by security policies and practices, which are being defined in organisations.

What ICT solutions are being adopted by your organisation and how have they benefited business performance and efficiency?

Network 18 Media is a serious player in the media and entertainment industry. IT has been at the core of the value chain, from content acquisition and processing to distribution, in both verticals of our business – broadcast and digital. IT and IT systems have been adopted and applied to bring business processes online, thus automating them and enhancing their efficiency and productivity.

What is the role of emerging technologies such as big data analytics, AI, and IoT in the media and entertainment industry?

A data-driven culture is the key for a growing industry and efficient embedding of the same in business processes is critical. The media and entertainment industry too has recognised this and has adopted the same with zeal and impact. Big data analysis is being adopted using cloud technologies and applications driving machine learning. The use of AI is also rapidly gaining a foothold in the industry. Newer technologies have applications in all processes, from determining the content strategy to scheduling commercial break patterns for linear broadcast channels. Digital media uses these technologies for customised content serving, relevant notifications and targeted advertising – everything aimed at gratifying the consumer.

What are the key challenges in the deployment of new technologies and management of the existing IT and telecom infrastructure?

Technology itself: As technology is being continuously upgraded, the solutions adopted must be designed and architected in a way that they do not become a slave of one generation technology. Solution design becomes all the more arduous if it is for a large human interface. It is quite relevant for the media and entertainment industry, typically news broadcast and media houses wherein content is generated using technology platforms and big teams of journalists and creative professionals operate the same.

Security: The digital transformation and the data-driven culture have rendered high significance to data and information security. Frequent ransomware attacks and hacking incidents have brought the focus back on security.

Tech resource: Acquiring capable manpower with suitable energy and enthusiasm, and retaining them in the organisation remain a challenge. This has become all the more challenging as the galloping technology transformations have created a gap between IT education in institutions and its applications in the field.

What ICT trends will shape the media and entertainment industry going forward?

The media and entertainment industry will focus on wooing consumers by enhancing creativity, bringing in innovations and establishing an emotional connect, all of which will be enabled by technology solutions. Data management platforms are at the core of all business decisions and the coming months will witness the development of solutions around that, with the use of behavioural science and statistical modelling. The adoption of newer technologies like blockchain for content management is garnering attention. Applications to identify and control fake news are another focus area for technologists. The coming years will have IT security as the primary trend. New cybersecurity solutions will emerge that will augment the design premise to include AI and machine learning to counter cyberattacks.


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