September 12, 2023

How can AI help media companies overcome their biggest challenges?

By Heather Allerdice-Gerow

Sr. Director, Industry Leader for Media Portfolio

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has long been part of the cultural conversation, often as a theme for science fiction. However, AI has truly reached a tipping point recently with the accessibility and widespread adoption of applications like ChatGPT, Bing, Bard, Midjourney, and DALL-E.

As these platforms catch on with consumers, many businesses are wondering how they can leverage AI within their strategies.

Of course, the promise of AI isn’t necessarily new in the media industry. Technology companies have long made use of AI to build out algorithms and other tools that can aid media companies in developing products that help grow revenue and sustain a business. What’s changed is that AI has taken a leap, in terms of both overall awareness and capabilities. This creates an opportunity for media companies to apply AI within their businesses in a tangible, transformative manner.

Let’s dive into the different kinds of AI, and then some ways it can be applied within the wider media industry.

Understanding AI

At this moment, the best way to understand AI’s utility is to think about two different kinds of AI: predictive and generative.

Predictive AI is a bit more established. This is when AI processes large amounts of data to identify trends and predict future outcomes. One example that many of us encounter are the prediction algorithms that provide content recommendations for streaming services.

Generative AI is when data is used to generate something completely new, whether that’s images, text, audio. Whereas predictive AI needs massive amounts of input (“big data”), generative AI can deliver an output based on a very simple prompt.

The buzz around generative AI likely has many in the media industry fearful that it could ultimately come for their jobs. The ability to write articles or scripts gives generative AI the power to potentially upend the media industry, but we won’t get deeply into that here. Instead, let’s look at how AI – all forms of AI – can aid media businesses and their employees, rather than replace them.

Applying AI to media’s big challenges

These latest iterations of generative AI tools are incredibly user friendly, making it easy for most media companies to build plug-in products on top of those tools. While these products might be fun for a while, they’re not likely to generate revenue or long-term success.

The media industry currently faces a wave of challenges amid increased competition and divided consumer attention. When it comes to applying AI to a business, it helps to start by thinking about these challenges, and then examining if there is an AI application that can help. It helps to look at the long-term goals of a business, and then develop the tools and products that will help bring those goals to fruition.

  • Personalization: Media companies with large user bases can use AI to analyze their customer data to pinpoint trends, common behaviors, connections, and other patterns. These insights can fuel recommendations, as we see with streaming, but also dynamic personalized homepages for websites. The insights can also help with customer service issues, predicting what issues a user may encounter and quickly pointing them to the solution.
  • Ad Optimization: Media companies can use AI and consumer behavior data to identify audience segments that are most likely to respond to certain brands, messages and offers. Armed with these insights, media companies can then deliver relevant ad messages to the consumer segment most likely to respond.
  • Content Creation: This is one area where generative AI can be helpful. While major movie studios are looking at how AI can be used to generate scripts, smaller media companies can utilize AI to generate relatively small pieces of content.
  • Cost Savings: As media companies fight for revenue, any form of cost savings is critical. All of the applications above should lead to revenue-generating opportunities. Using AI across your business can also help pinpoint areas where it makes sense to implement new processes, or even eliminate a product that is not getting the customer support it needs to be sustainable.

More than anything, before you make the decision to adopt AI, consider how it will be used, and if the resulting product helps reach your business goals, or is simply to catch on to the hype. Trend-chasing can be fun, but AI is far more valuable when built into a long-lasting, revenue generating product.

Here at 3Pillar we’re continuing to monitor the latest developments in AI and identify how media companies can apply AI to build breakthrough products that transform their business. To get started on a conversation about how AI can apply to your business, contact us.