The media and entertainment industry has been leveraging new-age technology in order to follow an audience-first strategy. To this end, sector enterprises have started adopting solutions based on cloud computing and data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) to enhance user experience and monetise their content. These technologies help enterprises to optimise the content on digital devices, stream live broadcasts and improve their distribution capabilities. Moreover, the much-awaited commercialisation of 5G networks is going to emerge as a key driver for technology adoption in the industry. Going forward, rapid digitalisation and automation will enable businesses to become resilient with online engagement, thus accelerating growth.
A look at the key technology trends that are changing the face of the media and entertainment industry…
Cloud and data analytics
Enterprises in the media and entertainment companies are using cloud computing applications to improve their operational efficiency. According to industry reports, over 73 per cent of the companies run at least one application on the cloud. Coughlin Consultancy expects cloud storage for the media and entertainment industry to grow by 13 times between 2017 and 2023. The on-demand characteristics of cloud computing provide the levels of scalability required to cost-effectively meet volatile demand. Further, the cloud provides the flexibility to craft new business and revenue models that can cater to fragmented audiences. Cloud computing solutions also enable media organisations to reduce roll-out cycles and the time required to market new content plans. The cloud also helps in reducing the data centre footprint. As such, movies and programmes consume gigabytes and terabytes of data, which needs to be stored in data centres. To this end, regardless of the size of the company, the cloud allows you to store large piles of data, reducing capex costs significantly.
Meanwhile, various data analytics solutions help industry players analyse data regarding the type of content being consumed. With the use of analytics, interesting hypotheses are generated, which are combined with human intelligence to improve the decision-making of enterprises. Apart from traditional analytics, companies are adopting audience analytics, through which social media reactions are analysed to make valuable decisions regarding product launches.
AI has been significantly altering the media and entertainment landscape across user engagement, content creation and distribution. With the help of AI, enterprises are now creating more visually appealing, interactive, data-intensive and personalised content. Further, AI helps in meta-tagging of the content. With AI-based video intelligence, enterprises can analyse video content frame by frame, thus appropriately tagging objects. This helps in structured organisation of the content, making it easily discoverable. In addition, companies in the media and entertainment sector are using AI to conduct targeted advertisement campaigns.
Furthermore, leading players such as Spotify and Netflix use AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms to study the behaviour of individual users in order to recommend personalised watchlists. Media companies are also using AI solutions to make strategic decisions. For instance, leading players are using ML and natural language generation to create channel performance reports from raw analytics data shared by the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India. Further, AI-based applications such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality are altering the way consumers consume content. They provide a fully immersive and personalised viewing experience. AR is being effectively used in the entertainment space for promotional campaigns in motion pictures, television and other media. Meanwhile, VR is being used to draw users deeper into the content, providing an immersive viewing experience.
IoT technology in the media and entertainment space is enabling enterprises to deliver content to connected devices. Although the technology is nascent in the media and entertainment sector, it is expected to pick up pace going forward. At present, companies are leveraging IoT in advertising to offer the right blend of creativity and data-driven decision-making. With IoT, organisations in the sector can analyse the viewing patterns of consumers and suggest content and advertisements accordingly. The media and entertainment industry is also allocating a major portion of its IoT budget to areas such as product monitoring, supply chain and customer monitoring and monitoring of premises.
Moreover, with the help of IoT technologies, digital content providers and aggregators can take advantage of the work-from-home trend for new services. This enables content providers to deliver and monetise their content on a multitude of new devices. Thus, entertainment companies are integrating IoT technologies in their platforms to enhance customer experience. This helps them devise targeted advertisements that appeal to specific individuals, thereby improving the client conversion ratio and subscription income.
Although still at a nascent stage, blockchain has the potential to disrupt the way content is produced, aggregated, distributed and consumed in the sector. According to Accenture, 55 per cent of media and platform executives consider blockchain to be among the top five priorities for their company. Around 83 per cent of leaders are currently planning to increase blockchain investments over the coming years. Some key applications of blockchain in the media and entertainment industry are:
- Content micropayments: Blockchain-powered micropayments systems have enabled pay-per-use consumption, as they can keep a comprehensive record of the data. This allows more accurate tracking of consumption of copyrighted content.
- Elimination of content aggregation: Blockchain’s decentralised structure enables content creators to directly distribute their work to consumers, helping them bypass traditional distribution channels. 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 instance, they can allow certain digital content to be published and downloaded at a specified time and price, and then split the payout among content creators.
- Blockchain content ledger: The content ledger feature enabled by blockchain technology can be used to record additional information about digital content. As the data is decentralised and irreversible, it is highly secure.
Wearable technology has made the entertainment industry a lot more immersive. These technologies are enabling users to consume AR/VR content such as videos, music and games. With the advent of wearable app development, content is now being delivered in more immersive formats. Besides, as smartphone users are now driven towards voice-tech solutions and smart speakers for quick searching, these are also being adopted in the media and entertainment sector. With the help of voice recognition technology, the sector is constantly working towards content optimisation. Furthermore, the sector is using drone technology for impressive photography and aerial filming. With the help of drones, it is now possible to acquire the details of inaccessible locations and make detailed documentation. Thus, owing to these capabilities, drones have now become an indispensable part of the entertainment industry.
Net, net, the growth of the media and entertainment sector, be it value-based growth or the creation of quality content, has been largely driven by increasing digitalisation. Emerging technologies have great potential to improve the sector’s capabilities and content delivery. As such, enterprises in the media and entertainment space are stepping up their IT investments. They should now simultaneously adopt advanced security solutions to safeguard their IT systems against cyberthreats.
By Shikha Swaroop