OTTs look to harness AI for next-level viewing, production

AI tools can be used to analyse story structures that resonate with audiences. (AFP)
AI tools can be used to analyse story structures that resonate with audiences. (AFP)


  • Industry experts say such tools will soon be used for scripting and dubbing as well

Video streaming platforms are increasingly looking to use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to personalize recommendations better for users, and make content discovery easier and more relevant to individual viewers.

Industry experts say such tools will soon be used for scripting and dubbing as well, which will help improve the quality of multilingual releases, and provide casting options and promotional material as well. The future could even see users participating directly in content streaming.

“OTT (over-the-top) platforms are actively leveraging AI tools across different aspects of their operations. Some key areas include content recommendation, personalization, cross-device compatibility, viewing exposures, audience analytics and so on," Manish Kalra, chief business officer, ZEE5 India, said.

Moreover, AI is making an impact in social media marketing through meaningful creatives, memes and short-form content, Kalra added.

By integrating AI, OTT platforms can also streamline their content production and distribution strategies, said Neeraj Sharma, managing director, communications, media and technology, Accenture Growth Markets.

Of course, major OTT platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video and others are already using AI algorithms to recommend content backed by user data. However, its impact can kick in much earlier, too.

For instance, Manika Juneja, managing partner, digital experience, Dentsu Creative, pointed out that AI facilitates scriptwriting by analysing story structures that resonate with audiences, helps the casting process by analysing actor performance data, audience reactions and market trends, and, therefore, optimizes the chances of success of a show or movie. For audio streaming, AI can also assist in creating thematic playlists, suggesting content based on users’ moods, time of day or even current events, Juneja added.

Kavita Shenoy, chief executive officer of media technology company Voiro, said standalone apps could even replace dubbing artists, increase the speed of language releases and drive larger audiences to regional stories.

In post-production, AI tools could speed up video editing. “AI engines can now annotate each frame with great accuracy at pace, so typical tasks like removing, enhancing and replacing any frame will become a matter of a few minutes as compared to weeks and months," Naresh Khanduri, executive vice-president and global head, generative AI for customer experience at global IT company Capgemini, said. “New-age GenAI platforms like Gen 2 (Runwayml) can even help create an animation movie from real word characters for kids or vice versa with very little effort and time."

Other than automating labour-intensive tasks, AI addresses major language barriers. Advances in AI allow seamless rendering of sound into different languages, eliminating the “dubbed" feeling, according to media industry experts. “This process is already underway and expected to scale up, providing a cost-effective solution for expanding content in diverse language categories," Vikram Bhalla, founder and director of Vivify Asia, an integrated marketing agency, said.

Within the advertising domain, AI leverages advanced algorithms to enhance ad targeting precision, ensuring that ads are strategically aligned with specific audience segments to maximize their impact and monetization. As more and more content producers look at the lifetime value of their content moving from SVoD (subscription video on demand) to AVoD (advertising video on demand), utilization of AI tools for automatic recognition of suitable points where ad markers could be inserted is becoming critical, according to Jay Ganesan, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific at Amagi, a media technology start-up.

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