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The Next Generation

Posted on Jun 23, 2024 by FEED Staff

Organisations that resist new technologies always run the risk of being left behind. As generative AI grows in scope, Qvest advises on how best to integrate it into your workflow

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In relative terms, artificial intelligence has only recently started to dominate headlines, conversations and conferences, leaving some feeling hopeful and others sceptical over the technology – still arguably in its infancy – and the transformative power it potentially holds. With the rise of programs such as ChatGPT and Sora, it’s no wonder why; AI can permanently alter media production as we know it.

As the dust settles on AI-driven mania, it’s becoming increasingly clear that, when used strategically, the technology can have numerous benefits to business operations, from creating more efficient workflows to reducing needless costs. Qvest, a leader and industry ally in digital transformation, has been following AI’s evolution for years while helping clients adjust to media’s ‘new norm’.

“While AI has been present in the media landscape for quite some time, it has mainly been employed to enrich metadata through analysis and tagging,” begins Philipp Glänzel, CTO and general manager of Qvest MENA. “Now, with GenAI, we are seeing massive disruption.

“GenAI has introduced the ability to generate content with relative ease,” Glänzel continues. “That being true for text, image, audio and even video creates endless opportunities for new ways of production.”

New kid on the block

Text-to-image and text-to-video technologies are rewriting the rules of content creation. For journalists, screenwriters, photographers, film directors and many more, AI poses a potential threat – but when viewed holistically, it also presents unlimited opportunities. “The areas impacted the most are clearly content creation and viewer interaction,” confirms Glänzel. “Here, we see many ways for creators to produce new content and engage with their audiences. The localisation of content is also undergoing a dramatic change, using GenAI solutions for translation, voice generation and avatar creation, and allowing content owners to access new markets.”

For individuals and organisations who are responsible for producing and distributing content, there are some clear ethical implications to using generative AI. “With the improvement of GenAI solutions, the possibility of creating convincing misinformation is greater than ever,” says Glänzel. “Having a transparency policy as a content creator – about which content was created by AI or with the help of AI – should be the foundation for a trusting relationship with the audience.” And there is an additional onus on news and media outlets to avoid the spread of misinformation in general: “They need to be extremely diligent,” argues Glänzel. Other critical risks include issues over data privacy, bias and intellectual property rights.

Up to speed

AI also has a place in organisations more generally – including those that don’t specialise in content creation – with the technology becoming more intertwined with day-to-day operations. “At Qvest, we assume that, within 12 months, no media company will produce content without using AI somewhere in its supply chain,” posits Glänzel.

Similarly, AI can aid in content presentation, proving especially useful to VOD platforms, FAST channels and the like. “With AI technology at our fingertips, data and analytics allow our customers to be as close as possible to their consumers,” says Glänzel. “Both customised and super-personalised content could be a key differentiator going forward, building a strong relationship with the viewer.”

AI’s evolution and acceptance introduces certain administrative challenges, keeping companies on their toes. “Customers who have strong integration frameworks are well-positioned to integrate GenAI into their workflows,” notes Glänzel, speaking from experience. “If any changes in the market occur, they’ll have the agility to adopt new solutions without needing to do so from scratch.”

Glänzel offers several suggestions on how to navigate today’s media landscape – AI and all. “From our experience, many companies are currently struggling to develop a clear AI strategy and governance structure. The most important step is getting to grips with the topic quickly – start now before you are left behind,” he shares. “It can help to determine your own AI maturity level and set up a roadmap with an internal task force. With our GenAI maturity model, we support customers in their next steps until AI technology is anchored in their corporate culture and operations.”

Glänzel’s advice differs somewhat for companies who are still at the beginning of their AI journeys. He says: “Aside from having a business-wide AI strategy and the required governance in your enterprise, identifying use cases and prototyping these are the quickest ways to introduce AI into everyday workflows.” He even claims this ‘can happen within a couple weeks.’

Embracing the unknown

Incorporating AI can be daunting, as it may require a complete operations overhaul. “We completely understand the hesitation. Things change fast – keeping track can be tiring,” Glänzel states. That is why he encourages businesses to make small, subtle adjustments now that will provide a foundation for future success.

“As the market is changing in terms of quality, availability and cost, what seems today as ‘not good enough’ and ‘too expensive’ might be acceptable and within budget tomorrow,” he observes. “A flexible framework to react to these changes will be a key differentiator between a business that can adapt quickly and harness AI’s added benefits versus one that takes too long to do so.” In other words, being an early AI adopter is in everyone’s best interest.

The industry is at a crossroads. With every AI-related opportunity comes an ethical or regulatory obstacle. But pushing back against AI will only slow businesses down. The future of content production is here; it’s time to embrace it.

This feature was first published in the Summer 2024 issue of FEED.

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