Sarbani Bhatia, Senior Vice-President, IT,
Jagran Prakashan

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. Industry experts talk 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?

The stupendous growth in ICT has removed all barriers and facilitated the creation and distribution of content globally. It has also enabled the unprecedented utilisation of social media sites. Another change is the formation of content aggregators and curators who draw and consolidate content from various online sources and redistribute it to end users. Advances in mobile, video and wireless technologies have led to an explosion in streaming services. Virtual multichannel video service providers are emerging and viewers are replacing their multichannel subscription services with on-demand streaming-based options. Targeted advertising has received an impetus thanks to the data explosion and all the deep, predictive analytics around it.

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

The need for a secure, dynamic, contextual, self-serviced and responsive platform for information dissemination and em­ployee collaboration was felt across the organisation. This needed to be accessed 24×7 through desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones from anywhere, by the en­tire workforce. This gave birth to JConnect 360, the enterprise portal which is a single sign-on gateway to all the information, instructions and announcements of the organisation. This has not only en­hanced employee engagement, but also boosted operational excellence by about 60 per cent as tasks can be completed, monitored and approved on the go.

ICT has been applied to replace all manual activities of data collection for news­paper distribution. Data is collected through hand-held devices and readers are geotagged. This has resulted in the creation of a very useful database of demographics, which has proved to be an asset for targeted marketing.

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

Big data analytics and AI are being used to gain insights into consumer preferences, thereby increasing consumer engagement through targeted content creation. Ano­ther application of predictive analytics is hy­p­er– targeted smart advertising, which ensures that the most appropriate ads are seen by the right target group at the right time.

IoT has found adaptability and utility in the media and entertainment industry. The number of IoT connections is rising as most publishers and broadcasters have developed a digital model to generate and distribute content. Data related to location, behavourial patterns, consumer preference and demographics is extracted to construct detailed consumer profiles, which will help create and deliver personalised content across multiple screens.

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

With so many technologies emerging on so many fronts, it is a challenge to keep up. Every new technology is billed as “the next big thing”. While the management recognises the importance of digital transformation, the rapid advancements in technology have made it difficult for businesses to keep up with the curve, much less stay ahead of it. The biggest opportunity for an IT team could also become a challenge if we are not alert, agile and responsive.

The skill set of the team as well as the en­tire ecosystem, including the supply cha­in and all stakeholders, needs to be upgraded continuously.

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

The most prominent trend in the media and entertainment industry is that of streaming, both audio and video. It has growing significantly since last year, and 2018 will see a more advanced version of tech activity. Music fans are fast adopting applications that offer this service. Video streaming is also increasing at an exponential rate. Thus, digital distribution has thrown open a whole new range of opportunities not only for media companies but also for artists.

It is predicted that 5G will be totally transformational in terms of speed, quality and reliability. This will provide a big boost to the online video industry. Movies will be downloaded in seconds as opposed to minutes. In sum, major developments including video-on-demand, content streaming, hy­per-targeted content and advertising will trans­form the media and entertainment industry this year.

“Viewers are replacing their multichannel subscription services with on-demand streaming-based options.” Sarbani Bhatia