Aloke Majumder, vicepresident, technology, SVF Entertainment

Media and entertainment companies are ramping up their digitalisation initiatives amid surging demand for high-quality content and intense market competition. SVF Entertainment Private Limited, an entertainment company based in East India, is one such enterprise leveraging new-age technologies to deliver best-in-class customer experience. In an interview with, Aloke Majumder, vice-president, technology, SVF Entertainment, talks about the company’s digital initiatives. Excerpts…

What are the technology trends transforming the media and entertainment industry? How is 5G changing the consumption and delivery of content?

The media and entertainment sector is currently undergoing a significant technological transformation. Streaming services, exemplified by over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as hoichoi, have fundamentally changed the way we access content, offering on-demand viewing, tailored content suggestions, and a vast content library. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are creating immersive experiences, allowing users to enter virtual realms or overlay digital elements onto the real world, particularly in the realms of gaming, live events, and interactive storytelling. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are playing pivotal roles in automating content creation, providing personalised content recommendations, and predicting future trends based on user behaviour. Blockchain technology is being explored for rights management to ensure content creators receive fair royalties and to combat piracy. Esports has emerged as a thriving entertainment avenue, with platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming enabling gamers to livestream their gameplay to attract millions of viewers. Interactive content, exemplified by Netflix’s “Bandersnatch,” empowers viewers to influence the storyline.

Moreover, 5G is reshaping how content is consumed and delivered by offering blazingly fast speeds, reducing latency for seamless live streaming and real-time interactions, enhancing VR and AR experiences, enabling internet of things (IoT) integration, facilitating remote production capabilities, and enabling media platforms to gather deeper insights into user preferences for more personalised content recommendations. In summary, these technology trends, with 5G as a prominent catalyst, are collectively revolutionising the media and entertainment landscape, providing audiences with unprecedented choices and immersive experiences.

What are the new-age technologies being deployed by your organisation? How is it impacting your business?

Our organisation has embraced several cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping our operations and impacting our business in significant ways. AI and ML play pivotal roles in our content ecosystem, from providing personalised content recommendations to automating content creation, analysing user behaviour, and predicting future trends. Additionally, the integration of 5G technology has revolutionised our content delivery, ensuring smoother streaming experiences, particularly for high-definition content, and enhancing the quality of live broadcasts. Data analytics has become a cornerstone in our strategy, enabling us to gain profound insights into viewer preferences, optimise ad placements, and customise content for specific audience segments. Furthermore, chatbots and virtual assistants on our platforms have improved user engagement and satisfaction by promptly addressing user queries, offering content suggestions, and enhancing customer service. These technological advancements have translated into several positive impacts on our business, including expanded global reach through OTT platforms and digital streaming, the ability to provide personalised content recommendations, diversification of revenue streams through subscription models and premium content offerings, an enriched user experience through immersive technologies like VR and AR, and operational efficiencies and cost reduction via automation, AI, and data analytics, although they have also brought forth new challenges related to content piracy, necessitating ongoing adaptation and innovation to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

What are the challenges/drawbacks of these technologies? How can these be addressed?

The adoption of these technologies brings forth several challenges and drawbacks that warrant careful consideration and mitigation strategies. Firstly, the proliferation of OTT platforms presents a challenge of over-saturation, potentially overwhelming consumers with choices and subscription costs. To address this, media organisations can explore bundling services or collaborating with other platforms to offer combined packages, while curating unique content offerings to stand out. Secondly, there are data privacy concerns associated with AI and ML usage for user behaviour analysis. The solution involves prioritising data encryption, anonymisation, and compliance with data protection regulations, coupled with transparent communication about data usage to build user trust. Furthermore, the infrastructure requirements for 5G deployment are substantial, necessitating collaboration between governments and private entities to share the costs and benefits of infrastructure development. Data analytics can introduce potential biases if not carefully managed; addressing this issue requires regular audits, diverse data sets, and the implementation of bias-mitigation algorithms. Over-reliance on chatbots and virtual assistants can lead to impersonal or inaccurate interactions, and a balanced approach that allows human intervention, especially for complex queries, can enhance the user experience. To address these challenges, media organisations should prioritise continuous learning and training to stay abreast of technological advancements and their associated challenges. Collaboration with tech companies, research institutions, and other stakeholders can provide expertise and resources to tackle these challenges effectively. Robust feedback mechanisms are essential to understanding user concerns and iterating on technological offerings. Ethical considerations, particularly concerning user data and content recommendations, must be prioritised to ensure fairness and transparency. Finally, staying compliant with local and international regulations, especially in the areas of data privacy and content distribution, can help mitigate legal challenges. In summary, while new-age technologies offer substantial potential for the media industry, proactive strategies, collaborations, and a user-centric focus are key to effectively addressing the accompanying challenges.

What role can extend reality and metaverse play in the sector?

Extended reality (XR), encompassing virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), as well as the emerging concept of the metaverse hold the potential to revolutionise the media and entertainment industry in several ways. XR can immerse audiences in storytelling, transforming genres like movies and news reporting, while also recreating live events and offering interactive gaming experiences. Moreover, XR can enhance educational content and advertising by providing interactive and immersive elements. In the context of the metaverse, it can serve as a shared virtual space for social interactions, event hosting, and content distribution, opening up new monetisation opportunities and empowering users to generate their own content. Metaverse’s ability to integrate various media forms creates a seamless entertainment ecosystem. However, it is essential to address challenges such as accessibility, ensuring that these technologies are available to a wide audience, and addressing ethical concerns related to data privacy and virtual identity rights. Technical challenges like scalability, latency, and interoperability must also be overcome to provide a smooth user experience. In summary, XR and the metaverse offer transformative potential for the sector, but thoughtful consideration and solutions to these challenges are necessary for their successful integration.

What is your outlook for digital transformation in the media and entertainment industry?

Digital transformation in the media and entertainment industry, an ongoing process, is poised for continued expansion and evolution. Traditional cable TV’s decline is expected to persist, with streaming and OTT platforms assuming a dominant role in content consumption, fostering increased competition and a wider array of specialised content offerings. These platforms will extend their global presence, catering to regional tastes while sharing popular content across borders. AI and data analytics will elevate user experiences, offering highly personalised content recommendations and predictive content trend analysis. XR technologies, including VR, AR, and MR, are set to become more mainstream, especially in gaming, live events, and interactive storytelling. A post-pandemic world may witness the adoption of hybrid events, blending in-person and virtual experiences through XR technologies. The concept of metaverse and interconnected virtual worlds will gain traction, offering new avenues for content distribution, social interaction, and monetisation, empowering users to create content and fostering collaborative projects. Content formats will evolve to include more interactive options and shorter, impactful content, following trends popularised by platforms such as TikTok. However, the digital transformation will also bring ethical and regulatory challenges related to data privacy, content moderation, and sustainability, alongside a growing emphasis on diverse representation in the industry, both on and off-screen, driven by societal demands for equity and inclusion. In summary, the future of digital transformation in the media and entertainment sector promises continued growth, technological innovation, and a redefinition of content consumption and creation paradigms.