AI: The Ultimate Game-Changer for Media

As AI advances, it’s reshaping marketing with new ways of pulling in data and insights to reshape and customize consumer communication. Its impact on marketing was explored in a recent NYC Media Lab white paper, “How AI Is Changing Media Economics.”

While AI has had a high profile on the media scene for a relatively short time, according to the white paper, “machines already influence what we watch, how that content is created, and the economics behind it all.” We’re now in a completely different world from the one defined by the broadcasting choices of television network with options for individuals to have their own choice of what to watch, when to watch it, and on which device.

All these choices leave digital trails that contribute to the data about that customer, something that businesses need to tap into in order to effectively capture the attention of their target markets. To do so, they’re turning to new media, redirecting their spending away from traditional newspaper and magazine ads to internet ads, particularly video.

A number of examples of this trend in the entertainment industry were offered by Strategy+Business in an article called “AI Is Already Entertaining You.” Among them is the role of AI in marketing new releases. Studios are getting better at applying advanced analytics and real-time feedback to shape their marketing campaigns. Using an analysis of initial uptake and social chatter surrounding a new movie release, one studio is using an AI-powered solution that makes recommendations for marketing and monetizing the content across downstream windows such as premium cable and video-on-demand platforms. Beyond measuring eyeballs for content aired at a specific time, the new “data factories” that studios are constructing allow them to measure, and often help direct, a consumer’s online journeys and actions.

As the new approach for film studios shows, AI enables what the white paper calls “an incredibly quick feedback loop.”  Speed is essential here: “The half-life of a Facebook post is only 5 hours, a mere blink of an eye compared to 20th-century feedback systems.”

In this digital climate, agility becomes essential. It allows companies to capitalize on the benefits of “an iterative approach” to marketing.   Now it’s possible to apply real time analytics to a campaign that is tested, tweaked, and tailored to an audience. With AI, not only the predictive analytics but even the implemented changes can be made automatically.

The white paper’s prediction is that the companies that “embrace this iterative approach and use data-analytics to automate both their decisions and actions and which take advantage of the cheap direct-to-consumer model to test their media more often” will prove the most successful.

In today’s on-demand world, effective marketing is not measured merely “more media assets” but in more precisely targeted ones. As consumers have access to so much more content beyond the traditional channels, “media companies are investing more in content to earn that mindshare.” They use AI in content creation, as in the case of Netflix’s original programming, but also for delivery of existing content.

The white paper offers the example of the video startup IRIS.TV whose cofounder and CEO, Field Garthwaite is quoted as saying they solve the problem of “large media companies that have content libraries segmented across divisions” by matching “the right video to the right viewer instantaneously” in what he describes as “a Pandora-for-video-like experience.”

Another startup referenced in the white paper is Olapic. It delivers an “Earned Content Platform” that seeks to increase “engagement and performance in every channel with curated, high-converting images and videos taken by real people.” It relies on AI to find content that features a brand or its products on social media and then deliver it to potential customers .

Other startups are utilizing AI to gain perspective on omnichannel efforts, as we’ve seen here. All of them work on the principle of apply an automated approach to analyzing large data sets and acting on the insight extracted in real or near-real time because timing is a key component when targeting your audience.

Many more businesses will likely follow in the same direction given IDC’s prediction that spending on AI is to jump 59.3% to $12.5 billion this year. A good chunk of will likely dovetail with smarter, more highly tailored marketing efforts this year and even more so in the future.

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