Driven by the proliferation of digital streaming platforms and the demand for better content, enterprises in the media and entertainment industry are leveraging cutting-edge technology solutions. Media enterprises have started adopting solutions based on internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and cloud computing to enhance the user experience and monetise their content to remain competitive in an omnichannel environment. These tools are also helping them take key decisions related to content creation and distribution, and explore new sources of revenue by tracking consumer behaviour and leveraging multiple channels for content delivery. Further, they help optimise content on digital devices, stream live broadcasts and improve the distribution capabilities of media enterprises.
A look at the key technology trends that are changing the face of the media and entertainment industry…
Cloud and data analytics
In view of the changing customer demand patterns, and increasing time and cost pressures, media enterprises are increasingly adopting cloud-based solutions. They require scalable computing capabilities to offer on-demand services to customers, which can only be provided through the cloud. Further, the cloud provides the flexibility to craft new business and revenue models that can help them cater to fragmented audiences. It also enables media organisations to reduce roll-out cycles and the time to market new content plans and experiences, and expand their existing content library. Moreover, the cloud allows companies to launch new products across channels and devices at a lower cost. The shift towards a cloud-based model also allows media enterprises to collaborate more securely and efficiently with various organisations across regions.
Another key technology gaining traction among media enterprises is data analytics. The technology allows companies to analyse data pertaining to the type of content consumed by customers, their choice of format, their viewing and consumption patterns, and feedback. Analytics solutions throw up interesting hypotheses, which are combined with human intelligence to improve the decision-making of enterprises. Apart from traditional analytics, media and entertainment companies have started adopting audience analytics, through which social media reactions to movies or other forms of entertainment on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and others are analysed. This analysis helps companies decide whether to release the movie on an over-the-top platform or in theatres.
Enterprises in the media and entertainment space are leveraging IoT technology to deliver content to connected devices. They also collect, transmit and monetise data from these devices. Further, IoT-enabled smart devices provide in-depth insights that help companies to respond to evolving customer needs and deliver personalised, contextually relevant entertainment experiences to consumers.
Among media enterprises, publishers and broadcasters are the key beneficiaries of IoT today as the technology enables them to use data on consumer location, preferences, behaviour and demographics to create and deliver personalised content across various platforms. Entertainment companies are integrating IoT with their platforms to enhance the customer experience. Moreover, IoT is helping media enterprises devise targeted advertisements that appeal to specific individuals, thereby improving the client conversion ratio, and boosting ad spends and subscription income.
AI is another technology that is slowly making inroads into the media and entertainment space. It has significantly altered the media and entertainment landscape, in terms of both content creation and distribution, and user engagement with content.
It is helping media companies automate tasks that are human intensive, resulting in greater efficiency, scalability and cost savings. For instance, companies are using AI algorithms to automate audio/video synchronisation, language translation, audio transcription, content tagging, video encoding, anomaly detection, content fingerprinting, video quality assessment, post-production processes, etc. Further, AI has found application in designing targeted advertisement campaigns. Going forward, AI is expected to help companies deliver precision advertising and real-time product placement based on the content the user is watching at the moment. Digital streaming platforms have also started using AI to enhance the viewing experience of consumers. Meanwhile, media organisations can use AI to strengthen their predictive capabilities. For instance, AI tools can be used to predict demand and possible disruptions in the content supply chain (such as a content supplier failing to meet a deadline). This can help generate significant time and cost savings.
In terms of content engagement, AI-based digital assistants are helping customers discover and search specific content. Further, AI-based applications like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality are altering the way consumers are consuming content by providing a fully immersive and personalised viewing experience. AR is being effectively used in the entertainment space for motion picture, television and other media promotional campaigns. VR is being used to draw users deeper into the content, providing an immersive viewing experience.
Another upcoming technology is blockchain. It is currently at a nascent stage in terms of adoption but offers numerous benefits. Some key applications of blockchain in the media and entertainment industry are:
- Controlling piracy: Blockchain offers a solution to one of the biggest problems faced by media enterprises that is, piracy. The use of blockchain would allow each transaction in the value chain to be recorded and updated instantly, thereby reducing the scope for piracy.
- Smart contracts: Blockchain-based smart contracts could be used to enforce licence terms and dispense payments. For example, it can allow certain digital content to be published and downloaded at a defined time and price, and then split the payout among content creators. For instance, when a consumer downloads a song, the smart contract will automatically be enforced, charging the buyer and distributing the revenue in pre-negotiated proportions to the specified stakeholders.
- Copyright protection: The time-stamping feature of blockchain technology allows creators of digital artworks to quickly register a proof so that they can protect their creations from unauthorised use on the internet. While the feature does not track ownership changes, it does confirm that the creator owned the asset at a specific point in time.
- Blockchain content ledger: The content ledger feature enabled by blockchain technology can be used to record additional information about the digital content. In the case of music, this information may include songwriters, performing artists, publisher and label, etc. As the data is decentralised (not controlled by any single party) and irreversible (once entered and accepted, items cannot be changed unilaterally), it is highly secure.
The way ahead
Net, net, enterprises in the media and entertainment space are stepping up their IT investments. While IoT, cloud and data analytics remain the key technologies being leveraged at present, AI and blockchain present promising opportunities for the future. Enterprises also need to simultaneously adopt advanced security solutions to safeguard their IT systems against cyberthreats.
Going forward, the commercialisation of 5G networks is going to emerge as a key driver for technology adoption in the industry. The easy access to broadband, coupled with the numerous digital innovations spurred by 5G, could bring about a transformation in the way media enterprises operate and help them ride the wave of next-generation technologies.
Kuhu Singh Abbhi