Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been rendered the next big disruptor in the broadcast and production domains of the M&E industry. Over the last few years, global broadcasters, studios and streaming, have readily adopted AI tools for bettering their businesses. “Early-adopters of AI have successfully moved from the Proof of Concept (POC) stage to realising tangible business benefits, with sports producers leading the way. Customers who once asked ‘What can I do with AI’ moved to asking ‘What can AI do for me?’ and then began realising valuable business outcomes. This evolution is largely due to the emergence of industry-specific AI solutions that have been tailor-made to serve the specific needs of content creators. With custom solutions now being available to M&E players, AI is poised to play a major role across multiple content operations – from creation to post production to distribution,” said Muralidhar Sridhar, VP, AI and Machine Learning, OVP and Analytics, Prime Focus Technologies.
THE WAY FORWARD
Readily-available off-the-shelf AI tools, developed by technology giants like IBM, Microsoft and Google, are predominantly focussed on identification of facets like faces, objects, actions, emotions, transcripts. These tools also pose as multiplexers, allowing customers to connect to multiple cloud solutions.
“At PFT, our native media recognition AI engine, CLEAR Vision Cloud has been custom-made to solve specific M&E use cases – right from live sports, content discovery and search, OTT traffic and operations, to playout monitoring and conformance. It leverages patent-pending Machine Wisdom technology to deliver automation and data that is highly accurate, relevant, contextual and actionable. It draws on collective intelligence of the industry’s most sophisticated AI solutions and PFT’s homegrown models to automate repetitive tasks and drive unparalleled speed, scalability and monetization opportunities,” explained Sridhar.
AI aids cost-reduction, along with helping reduce effort and resources involved in core content operations. This, in turn, helps content creators lower Total Cost of Operations (TCOP) and achieve faster time-to-market. Automatic tracking of sports actions, highlights creation in near real-time, enable content producers to cut down the time and effort involved in highlight creation by 60%, according to Sridhar.
The biggest potential of AI lies in automatic content recognition, which can drive several path-breaking business benefits. “For instance, most content owners have thousands of video assets. Cataloguing, managing, processing and re-purposing this content typically requires extensive manual effort. Advancements in AI and ML algorithms have now made it possible to drastically cut down the time taken to perform many of these tasks. AI can also automatically identify logical scenes and searchable clips in content and provide accurate, actionable metadata; to help significantly reduce the time involved in identifying clips for promo creation, as well as OTT distribution,” elaborated Sridhar.
AI helps content creators deliver an immersive viewing experiences, which includes conducting deep searches and discover content of interest, using natural language. In the realm of cricket, it helps deliver in-app notifications, powers dynamic video scorecards, and extends the power of creating highlights to the consumer. All this is aided by availability of GPU-enabled virtual machines on the cloud, and micro service architecture, APIs enabling the integration of AI solutions into existing workflows of media asset management (MAM) systems with ease.
“Vision Cloud recently helped a US-based broadcaster to automate the process of identifying and removing specific content segments - including blacks, slates and colour bars - from their spots.These segments were not required for OTT distribution, and were hitherto removed by manual operators who had to sift through the content and mark the segments by identifying time code in and time code out. Using AI to automate this process enabled the broadcaster to cut down time and effort. We also did a live POC for a leading sports event to automatically generate live a sports catalogue and instant highlights, which were more than 95% accurate and had an overlap of 90% with human-produced highlights,” said Sridhar.
Sridhar said that as custom made AI solutions prove their mettle in the market, the next 18-24 months will witness hockey-stick growth in the adoption of these technologies, with service providers hand-holding customers throughout their journey. Content creators will increasingly embrace AI to overcome pain points, enhance efficiencies and free up managerial time so that they can focus on their core mission – delivering great content.