S07E03: Game of Streams (Don’t introduce red flags)
Our Media Solution Specialist, Magnus Svensson, is sharing his reflections on the online streaming industry in this post. This is part of a monthly series so make sure to follow us here if you do not want to miss an episode.
When traditional industries are faced with new technology, it’s not uncommon that they try to find any possible reason not to embrace the new technology. Instead of utilizing the new technology to enhance and innovate, a lot of time and effort is spent to find reasons not to replace the existing technology. Even going as far as trying to convince legislators to block the new inventions.
A great example of this is Red Flag Act. In the early days when cars started to appear on the streets, a law was introduced that limited the speed of the car in urban areas and required them to have a man who would walk in front of the car waving a red flag. In parts of the USA, it even went as far as a proposal that the car owner was forced to immediately stop the vehicle, and as rapidly as possible, disassemble the car and hide the components when they meet a horse.
Maybe not quite so exaggerated, but this reaction is quite common also the television industry. As an industry, how television is presented to the viewer has not changed that much over the years. Netflix disrupted traditional television when it introduced its on-demand service. Some industry leaders initially dismissed the threat, and competitors slowly realized that they needed to offer the same capabilities. Competitors that now struggle to make their offers profitable and now do what they can to optimize their business. Being open to new technology and daring to try new ways of doing things is a very good way to move in that direction.
Using automation and machine learning
Last week I together with some colleagues experimented with machine learning and how to utilize automation to create an improved user experience for playlists. A very cost-efficient way to create a playlist or channel is to stitch already prepared content into a playlist, without the need for encoding. One way to make the generated playlist a bit more interesting could be to separate each new piece of content with an introduction, or announcement.
As these virtual channels are very inexpensive to produce, you would need a very inexpensive and efficient way to produce these introductions and announcements. As a prototype, we used some of the popular “AI” and machine learning tools in the market and asked those to create introductions based on the title and synopsis for the coming program.
The outcome was far from what a real human anchor would do, but still with good enough quality to be used as a complement for automatically created playlists or channels. Read more about this in our blog “AI Generated Anchors with FAST Channels based on VOD2Live” (https://medium.com/@eyevinntechnology/ai-generated-anchors-with-fast-channels-based-on-vod2live-12e810de3575).
This is just one example where new technology could be used to drive innovation within the television industry. As mentioned, automatically generated announcements might never replace real human anchors for premium distribution. But it is an excellent complement that will allow for new ways to present a content catalog to the viewers.
The competition in the streaming industry is extremely hard, and the companies that are open to innovation and new technology will have a great advantage. Instead of fighting to introduce red flags, use the advantages to become successful.
To watch out for the coming months…
The months leading up to the summer are packed with industry events. During my career in television, video, and streaming I don’t think that I have seen such a density of conferences and industry events. Mid-April I will be in Las Vegas for the NAB Show, the annual trade show produced by the National Association of Broadcasters, taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center. NAB show is the largest show for media, entertainment, and technology.
Slightly smaller and fewer attendees, but at least as good, Streaming Tech Sweden will be held in Stockholm on the 1st of June. The agenda and line-ups of technical presentations are taking form, and the event will soon open for registration. An event you don’t want to miss if you would like to learn the latest around video streaming.
Magnus Svensson is a Media Solution Specialist and partner at Eyevinn Technology. Eyevinn Technology is the leading independent consulting company specializing in video technology and media distribution.