Breaking Free


While India is a TV-heavy market, T Shobhana, VP & global head, marketing and communications, Prime Focus Technologies believes that cord cutting will become a reality in the nation’s metros

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is today driving business transformation across literally every industry vertical, and is expected to be a major focal point in 2018. The media and entertainment (M&E) industry has been buzzing about AI for years, and as the business benefits become more transparent, harnessing AI innovations is fast becoming top priority for broadcasters, studios and digital organisations alike. T Shobhana, VP and global head, marketing and communications, Prime Focus Technologies elucidates about AI, and other tech trends, which media enterprises can leverage to enhance efficiencies, cut costs and maximise revenues.

What are some industry trends that you think will gain ground in 2018?
AI will become a golden ticket for media companies and the reason is not just its ability to automate tasks like translation, but also its potential to generate automated metadata for enhancing searchability and discoverability of content. This in turn plays a major role in increasing monetisation of assets and achieving lowest Total Cost of Operations (TCOP). AI-enabled MAM, driven by a powerful search engine, and augmented with diverse AI capabilities will be the focus in 2018, as this forms the key foundation for driving automation-led efficiencies across the content supply chain, slashing costs and improving the bottom line.
Additionally, high resolutions like 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR), along with customised solutions and workflow tools to manage corresponding content operations will remain major talking points.

Will the rapid growth of on-demand media and emergence of new platforms and devices across the broadcast universe change the existing business dynamics in India?
OTT is increasingly becoming a significant part of the content monetisation strategy for the M&E industry, as it provides major opportunities to extend audience growth and win revenue in local and global markets. In India, the OTT explosion has been exponential over the last few years, propelled by 4G and bandwidth penetration. To stay ahead of the competition, M&E enterprises must cater to India’s fragmented demographics, made up of multiple languages. Focusing on regional content that appeal to particular states is a critical aspect of capturing user share in the Indian OTT market.
Localisation, along with creation of original content in different languages is the way forward when it comes to capturing large audiences in tier-3 towns and rural areas.
The time is also perfect for Indian OTT players to enter the international market. This can help take advantage of the large international population of Indian immigrants hungry for familiar entertainment as well as sports content. Players like Hotstar have already begun their journey of international expansion and are tasting success. Content creators need to pull out all the stops to deliver differentiated content and provide impeccable viewing experiences in order to win the race for eyeballs.

How can traditional media players create revenue streams that will help them mine the emerging monetising opportunities?
In today’s digital next era, the formula for success is evolving drastically, and new technology is enabling consumption and revenue opportunities that never existed before.
For instance, there now exist solutions that provide end-to-end workflow orchestration for regional ad creation and delivery. This means, once the creative of an ad is finalised, automation can be leveraged to create localized versions of these ads in different languages and deliver these to corresponding regions. This ensures increased ad penetration across multiple geographies thereby helping broadcasters boost monetisation.

While Indian broadcasters have been keen on automating many of their workflow processes, they are still doing it in silos, leading to lots of confusion. In 2018, do you see them making a concentrated effort to automate more sections or all of their operations workflow?

Globally, many broadcasters are using multiple on-premise, non-scalable MAM systems across different divisions, departments and locations of their organisation. Such multiple systems to manage content during production, marketing and distribution lead to high Total Cost of Operations. 2018 will, therefore, see a stronger adoption of centralised, not just MAM, but ERP systems that brings content to the center of the business and automate the content supply chain.
Automation is key. To help people do things better and faster. After all it is all about enabling people with powerful tools and technologies so they can better focus on what they do – create better content.

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