Comprising 2200 companies that deliver SGD 2.4 billion in value, the media and entertainment industry is an important contributor to Singapore’s economy. With recognised names in broadcasting, motion pictures, animation, and music production setting up shop in the city-state, its media industry continues to gain momentum in every aspect.
At the same time, an increasingly digital environment has reshaped the industry’s traditional formula for success. New forms of content creation, distribution, consumption, and monetisation have been implemented in the past decade. Telcos chalking up exclusive distributor agreements with top streaming platforms is one example. Extended reality (XR), being used by brands to offer new levels of audience immersion and captivation, is another.
Today, three in five consumers in Singapore are already using video-on-demand services, with one in three spending at least an hour daily on these platforms. Over half have also adopted music-on-demand services. With audiences now possessing greater choice, flexibility, and power over their consumption, media companies must embrace ongoing transformation or risk falling behind.
A new wave of transformation is being enabled by generative AI – artificial intelligence (AI) that can interact with users in natural language and create novel content like story outlines, reports, images, videos, and audio, with just a few prompts. Media and entertainment are inherently about content creation and creativity, so what does the emergence of this technology mean for industry players?
The industry today spans over-the-top (OTT) subscription streaming services, 24-hour linear channels, live sports broadcasts, digital journalism, traditional publishing, short-form user-generated video, etc. The boundaries between these segments are blurring — yet common to them all is the focus on delivering engaging content and experiences that can be directly or indirectly monetised.
Media companies can therefore view the application of generative AI through three lenses:
Supercharging content lifecycle management
Generative AI democratises many aspects of content creation, opening new ways to create written material, illustrations, sound effects, special effects, etc. Its recent maturation has been so rapid that some in the industry have expressed concern that generative AI implies the end of creative professions. The opposite is much more likely.
Just as photography, audio recordings, and computer-generated images have enabled new modes of creativity instead of making old ones obsolete, generative AI will enable new forms of expression and enhance familiar ones.
For example, journalists could use generative AI to speed up research. It can help them synthesise and analyse large volumes of information or create initial drafts or summaries of editorial content. Film and television producers can use the technology to accelerate post-production, with new AI-enabled interfaces for rapidly adjusting or enhancing scene details like lighting and colour. Broadcasters can use generative AI to make vast libraries of video footage searchable and accessible for telling more compelling stories.
During a recent performance at Google I/O, electronic artist Dan Deacon played music he created in collaboration with AI as he recited poetic lyrics with vibrant AI-generated illustrations behind him. Google is working with musicians like Dan Deacon to explore how text-to-audio tools powered by generative AI can complement their creative process.
Far from undermining incredible creative professions, generative AI is poised to free writers, artists, editors, and many others from the tedious and mundane aspects of their work, empowering them to focus more of their time on creativity.
Hyper-personalised audience experiences
For most consumers, the cost of switching to competitive platforms is extremely low. This puts pressure on media companies to invest in delivering low-friction experiences to mitigate subscriber churn.
Generative AI can help media companies engage and retain viewers, for instance, by enabling more powerful searches and recommendations on their digital content platforms. With its multimodal capabilities extending from natural language to audio and video content, generative AI is well-positioned to power more personalised audience experiences.
Consumers are often subjected to the “paradox of choice” – or the inability to find something interesting to watch on streaming platforms that have vast libraries of content that’s available on-demand. Imagine a not-too-distant future wherein a consumer can simply ask the content platform they are using to help them find a specific show to watch based on mood, specific types of scenes, combinations of actors, award nominations, or practically anything else they can ask.
Content is king, but make monetisation queen
As content consumption further expands from linear television programming to include digital offerings across even more platforms, devices, and content types, media companies face the challenge of maintaining and improving monetisation. Generative AI can be used to drive advertising revenue growth via more targeted, contextual, and personalised advertisements.
Canva, a leading visual communication platform, is already using rich generative AI capabilities in language translation to better support non-English speaking users. Users can easily translate presentations, posters, social media posts, etc., into over a hundred languages. Canva is also testing ways to help users use generative AI to turn short video clips into longer, more compelling stories.
Going a step further, imagine display and video advertisements being generated on the fly to personalise product specifics, messaging, style, colours, and innumerable other characteristics to drive higher engagement, click-through rates, and advertising revenue per impression.
Responsible, enterprise-ready AI in the spotlight
While not all consumer-facing, publicly-available generative AI services are suitable for use in an organisation — due to the possibility of their models leaking intellectual property, the good news is that enterprise-ready generative AI tools are becoming increasingly available to help the industry’s business leaders, technologists, and creators reimagine the way they operate and engage audiences.
With generative AI on the rise, there’s no better time than now for companies to explore responsible and effective technology applications, stay hyper-relevant and drive meaningful outcomes.