Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Innovate or Fall Behind: AI’s Crucial Role in Media Industry’s Evolution

By Sujatha Gopal, Chief Technology Officer of Communication, Media, and Information, Services at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

In recent years, the communications, media, and information services (CMI) industry has seen a surge in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance personalisation and create more engaging experiences. According to a recent TCS AI study, 34% of CMI executives report using AI to deliver vastly more targeted, relevant, and rewarding audience interactions.

This trend is poised to transform the industry in ways that rival the impact of the internet and the smartphone. Indeed, a majority of these executives—51%—believe AI’s influence will be  significant, if not greater.

AI in entertainment: Breaking language barriers and enhancing interactivity

The entertainment industry is already showcasing some of the groundbreaking applications of AI. For instance, AI-driven tools are being used to adapt, translate, and summarize foreign language content into local dialects, making global media more accessible than ever before. In sports broadcasting, AI enables real-time interaction between fans and players, offering in-game statistics analysis presented visually and interactively.

This level of interactivity is unprecedented, promising to deepen fan engagement and redefine the viewer experience.

However, the integration of AI into the CMI industry is not without its challenges. One of the primary hurdles is the existing infrastructure and skills gap. While AI holds tremendous potential, its effective implementation requires a workforce skilled in both AI technologies and the nuanced demands of the media landscape.

Additionally, there are regulatory concerns. Nearly half (49%) of CMI executives believe that academics should have a seat at the table to navigate the complexities of AI technology. This underscores the need for a collaborative approach to AI governance, ensuring ethical standards and accountability.

Human creativity: The enduring competitive advantage

Despite these challenges, the majority of CMI executives—64%—are confident that human creativity and strategic thinking will remain their company’s competitive advantage. This suggests a future where AI augments rather than replaces human capabilities, enhancing the creative process and strategic decision-making. AI’s role, therefore, is seen as a powerful tool to complement human ingenuity, driving innovation and efficiency in content creation and distribution.

Currently, media and entertainment companies are increasingly using AI to improve advertising revenues and customer engagement. For instance, a major American media company is using AI to simplify ad buying for TV and streaming businesses.

Another global media giant is using AI for contextual ads for their streaming services, and an Australian pay-TV company has invested in AI to enhance their sports fan engagement. These efforts help target audiences better and improve customer experiences.

 To be sure, media companies have just started on their journey and need to think creatively to leverage the immense potential AI presents. A pressing need is for the development of robust evaluation frameworks to ensure AI initiatives are delivering value and driving the desired outcomes. The TCS AI study revealed that only 17% of CMI companies feel they have adequate metrics to measure the success of AI implementations.

The time to embrace AI is now. As the CMI industry navigates this transformative era, those who proactively integrate AI into their operations and address the associated challenges will be best positioned to lead in the digital age. By fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration, and by investing in the necessary infrastructure and skills, media companies can unlock new levels of personalization, engagement, and interactivity.

The future of media is bright, and AI is the catalyst that will propel the industry into uncharted territories of possibility.