Technology In Media & Entertainment- From Slow Movers To Early Adopters

Pravin Savant, Group CTO, MullenLowe Lintas Group | Thursday, 20 February 2020, 11:35 IST

Pravin Savant, Group CTO, MullenLowe Lintas GroupThe role of technology in the Media & Entertainment (M&E) sector has undergone an interesting phase in the last few years and the trend shall continue to evolve in 2020 as well. Unlike Automotive and Pharma that embraced new technology early, M&E sector took longer to get off the block. However, over the past few years, the technology blueprint in the M&E sector has undergone a metamorphosis. It is driven by changing needs and demands by external customers, need to equip the internal customers - Workforce and the underlying critical & sensitive factor of the data layer connecting the two.

Talking about data, across most industries; there has been a misconception that Data is free & can be easily managed. Over the years, this misconception has changed with the realization that the data is neither free nor it’s a commodity that can be easily handled. It’s a critical asset to be handled with adequate care. In the M&E industry, there are multiple dimensions to data layer- large volumes of data, multiple formats (creative, audiovisual, documents), client sensitive data, research data, intellectual property & rights, industry/trade reports et all. Add to that the statutory compliance needs to be driven by acts like GDPR & personal data protection bill. The sheer volume & complexity of data implies that it moves from operational activity to a business-critical area, demanding more resources.

In this space, one can see a growing trend towards usage of cloud platforms. The usage runs across multiple layers- communication layer (email on O365), encrypted storage & retrieval, as well as for collaborative purposes like MS teams. The trend is also expected to continue with added focus in cybersecurity & compliance. This will also bring into play the importance of Cyber Insurance in 2020.

While on data, there is also a growing differentiation on how do we use the data or Big data. The much-ignored Analytics is slowly gaining prominence over the traditionally overused spreadsheets. BI tools are in use which gives a ready cut presentation & analytical layer. For high volume research & planning data, the advent of predictive tools is seriously explored. Similarly, usage of tools like revenue optimizer or value maximization for the perishable inventory (e.g. ad spots) is an area of focus. With the growing focus by leading technology players & the M&E large organisations, one can expect that an Industry-standard product & service should be arriving.

While BI & Analytics are fairly matured in some other industries like retail in comparison so it’s not a case of riding on the new tech wave. However, there are New technologies where the M&E sector is being amongst the early adopters. For example, Artificial intelligence - Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities. It’s a heartening trend that the M&E companies are finding relevant business cases and are experimenting with these new-age technologies.

Take an instance of the creative assets (videos, photographs) for the advertising industry. These assets are critical and carry huge value for an agency. However, unless it is stored in a structured way it can hardly be leveraged. It is here that the machine learning capability has proven to be a boon. Machine Learning helps to identify these assets, tag them accurately and then store it in a user-friendly manner. The fact that the accuracy of machine learning grows continuously with the growth in the volume of data handled makes it quite useful. The various APIs which cover add on features like emotion recognition, celebrity recognition, event recognition makes this technology quite relevant for an agency. This trend will grow with more usage and further enhancement to leverage this capability for the overall creative process and also assisting, enhancing customer servicing & satisfaction.  

Customer satisfaction norms have changed as well with different requirements. One instance of NLP for account management is creating Voice Bots as a service. It is estimated that, by the year 2020, as many as 50% of all searches made will be through voice. To cater to the growing needs of brands dealing with the type-averse and type-challenged generation of today, MullenLowe Lintas Group has launched Lintas VoiceX to deliver solutions that are designed to make brands ‘voice-ready’. 

In a geographically diverse market like India, there is a growing technology impact in a niche segment in M&E- the Outdoor, rural marketing & activation. Given the increasing trend in hyperlocal marketing by brands through activations and experiential, marketing is moving to remote locations. Technology can aid in better controls for efficient management that can track and trace helping marketers to measure not just productivity but also effectiveness. Platforms like Probitec from LinEngage (Experiential Marketing arm of the Group), an activation management technology platform which provides Live alerts, route mapping, secure messaging, that help in monitoring, should be a good example.

Even the new technology like Blockchain is finding it’s a business application in the sector based on its core feature of non-repudiation. Here it will be useful in handling high value, business-critical transactions and mitigate typical risks associated. The workforce training will continue to be an area of focus for up-skilling and re-skilling. Here again, technology can facilitate the growing need for flexible & convenient training. Large organisations are signing up with leading e-learning platforms like Lynda or LinkedIn learning which provide the new age nano- learning option. DIY courses allow for self-paced learning and accessible from anywhere. Technology is also facilitating a flexible and agile workspace in line with the new scenario.

In summary, 2020 should continue to witness the increasing technology usage for business benefits in the M&E sector.

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