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How Generative AI will Reshape the OTT Video Industry

Phillip Dupuy

Head of Sales Engineering EMEA & LatAm

August 2, 2023


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Generative AI is certainly a hot topic and it is safe to say that we are only just at the beginning of a wider-scale revolution. Large Language Models (such as GPT-4 and its likes) have already been employed in customer service chatbots and content creation processes for quite some time, paving the way for more sophisticated technology which will have greater capabilities, and hence an extended reach. 

Even before the launch of Chat GPT and the ensuing explosion of generative AI models, AI was frequently being used by content creators to streamline the media workflow, and by OTT providers to assist with delivering a personalized and seamless user experience. Rapid technology advancements are now taking this to another level. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the OTT video industry and reshape the way services are created, delivered and consumed in momentous ways.

Because of this area developing so quickly, it is difficult to envisage how generative AI will impact the video industry in the longer-term. Could we get to the point where it is able to create video content and OTT applications more or less from scratch, without the need for human input? Will personalization be taken to the next level with AI technologies quickly producing specialized content tailored to individual preferences? These are possible scenarios and given its rapid evolution, video service providers need to pay close attention to developments in AI or risk missing the beat.


How AI will revolutionize video content creation

While we are only just starting to explore the kinds of applications generative AI will have in the OTT industry, we are likely looking at a future where it’ll be used at every stage in the media supply chain. The question at this early stage, however, is what this will actually look like in practice. On the content creation side, generative AI could be used to generate storylines, plots and ideas, as well as assisting with writing scripts that appeal to a specific target audience. Or, to take things one step further, it could potentially even be used to create content in its entirety; imagine AI generated characters, complete visuals and audio produced using the technology at scale. This is an incredible thought, especially considering that not so long ago, these kinds of innovative mechanisms were strictly the domain of high budget Hollywood studios. With the technology now becoming more mainstream, it’s easy to understand why AI is such a contentious issue for writers and actors.

In the post-production arena, we will begin to see more operators using generative AI to vastly speed up video editing tasks that are often extremely time consuming. Localization is another long winded piece of work that will be completed in a fraction of the time when generative AI-based tools are used to assist with tasks such as automated creation of multi-language subtitles, and even audio tracks. The combined effect of all of this is that it will be easier, quicker and eventually significantly cheaper to produce high quality content. And this will, most certainly, lead to an explosion of content becoming available.


How AI can take personalization to the next level

On the content delivery side, generative AI will enable video providers to enhance UX and deliver a hyper-personalized service. Recommendation engines based on AI-driven algorithms will be much more sophisticated than those currently in use. By harnessing the power of AI, OTT platforms can ever more efficiently analyze user behavior, preferences, and demographics to deliver content recommendations that are perfectly tailored to an individual’s specific needs and preferences - not just in general, but even at a specific time of the day. This ability of AI to quickly analyze user behavior in such incredible detail will allow video providers to tailor the interface to individual preferences on a micro level, covering things like layout and navigation, as well as the generation of personalized thumbnails, posters and trailers. This ability to provide hyper-personalized experiences will naturally boost engagement, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction on a wider scale. 

Advertising is another area that will hugely benefit from AI-driven tools. The technology will enable companies and service providers to greatly improve targeting to provide a highly relevant and less disruptive experience for the user. There will be a new found ability to understand much more accurately what individual customers want and, perhaps even more importantly, exactly when they want it. We’ll see generative AI revolutionize advertising by creating highly customized ad content based on user preferences and behavior, which in turn will lead to increased ad revenue for OTT providers. This level of precision in advertising will create a win-win situation for both advertisers and viewers, with users being exposed to more relevant ads while advertisers achieve higher conversion rates.

AI use cases in software engineering

It is clear that generative AI has the potential to significantly alter the way content is produced and delivered. But what about its power to enhance other aspects of the video streaming journey? One of the most exciting things about the technology is that it will likely come to optimize the entire engineering process, revolutionizing how software is developed, managed, and maintained.

Traditional software engineering often involves repetitive coding tasks, and this is naturally time-consuming but also prone to human errors. AI will play a significant part in streamlining and speeding up the process, generating and reviewing code, suggesting refactoring, producing documentation, and writing and even performing unit tests. But a human still needs to be in the driving seat to ensure quality and accuracy of code, and this is not going to change anytime soon. There’s no doubt that it will play a massive role in assisting software engineers in the coding process, improving outcomes and saving time. Additionally, when it comes to reviewing code, AI can be utilized to spot patterns and common errors as well as to improve code efficiency, which will achieve faster load times, reduce bandwidth consumption, and ultimately enhance the user experience.

It’s difficult to perfectly predict the longer-term effects AI will have on the video application development process. What is safe to assume, however, is that it will become an integral part in the engineering toolbox, enabling video service providers to improve quality, increase efficiency, and save significant amounts of time. Development lead times may go from months to weeks, or even days and this will likely result in an explosion of apps available in the market. It’s going to be easier than ever for providers to launch and grow a video service.

The AI-powered OTT journey has begun

Generative AI is on the brink of transforming the OTT video industry. It’s important that we recognize it as an enabler rather than as an opponent, and that we invest in it now, in order to utilize its full potential in the future. Nobody knows quite where we’re heading but in the near term, we’re definitely going to see huge changes around how content is produced as well as how providers can work to create hyper-personalized user experiences. There’s no doubt that this is going to change how the industry operates, and how we all interact with technology. The genie is most definitely out of the bottle and the onus is on video providers to stay ahead of the AI game or risk becoming irrelevant.

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