Sohini Guharoy, Group Head, Audience Growth (CNBC TV-18, CNN News18), Network18 Media and Investments Limited

The Indian media and entertainment industry is one of the fastest growing media industries in the world. Its growth has been largely driven by increasing digitalisation and high internet usage over the past decade. The rapid evolution of technology has transformed media and entertainment into an experience-led industry. All in all, the sector is on a growth trajectory and is presenting stakeholders with a plethora of opportunities. Industry players share their views on how new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), AR/VR and metaverse are transforming the media and entertainment space in India, their deployment status and the way forward…

What are the digital trends shaping the media and entertainment industry? What are the various ICT solutions being deployed by enterprises in the sector?

The media and entertainment industry is at a very exciting juncture, where there is an upsurge of several digital trends. Fr­om AR and VR to ML and AI, several te­ch­nologies are already being used to some extent in several of our products and platforms. Our search, discoverability, progra­mmatic ads, auto captures, automati­on, and other functions are all decently invested in these technologies. It is imperative in the evolving digital space. Several ICT solutions are used, from managing storage to cloud services to visualisation and automation. Some media companies outsource it, some build their tech and product teams elaborately in-house.

What has been the sector’s response to newage technologies such as AI, ML, IoT and AR/VR?

It is of course the future and the sooner we are invested neck deep in it, the better. We are living at a time when what we say, see or sometimes even think is dominated by the influence of new-age hi-tech solutions. The advertisements we see, the monetisation models we work on are all integrated deeply in our new-age tech ecosystem and the involvement is only going to get richer. Several of our products that we currently consume, from videos to facial recognition to automation, are all using these technologies.

How will the rising adoption of metaverse impact the way content is produced, aggregated, distributed and consumed in the media and entertainment sector?

Tremendously, in one word. Volume, scale, variety, consumption habits will all change and evolve in the next decade. The inclusion of more immersive technologies in the editorial and marketing sectors will give rise to a new dimension altogether for content creation and monetisation avenu­es. For example, what if a reader could actually be experiencing on-ground reportage while watching a live video report? With the power of technology our online spaces are gradually going to bridge all possible demarca­tio­ns. What if a fan could interact with a ce­lebrity and ask them a question directly in the metaverse? See, the possibilities can be endless and the future sure looks exciting!

What, according to you, could be the possible impediments hampering technology adoption in the sector?

The larger vision of media companies is going to dictate early adoptions. Al­so, the challenge of getting these technologies to penetrate into all the markets would be a big one. Internet issues, access issues, literacy, and seve­ral socio-economic factors will decide how much and to what level we see changes. The news media industry is surely going to take cues from the OTT entertainment space.

Going forward, what are the three key technology trends to watch out for in the media and entertainment sector?

The creator economy/influencer marketing for sure, with NFTs smoothening the trend, AI – we are already seeing its impact on the digital assets we consume, and social media 2.0 with a far more solid version giving tough competition to traditional mediums (again, seeing it already!)