By: Dr. Mohamed Abdulzhaer
Academic and Artificial Intelligence Journalism Pioneer
Dubai- Artificial Intelligence Journalism
Media has played a major role over the last entire year in raising awareness of the pandemic, by reporting news, features and updates on 24/7. Meanwhile, the media and entertainment industry has reaped 10 growth opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis, which will shape the future of many new media technologies over the next five years.
Artificial Intelligence Journalism for Research and Forecasting (AIJRF), the global leading organization in researching, forecasting, and shaping the future of Artificial Intelligence and Human has issued a new report defining 10 growth opportunities for the media and entertainment industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
The 10 growth opportunities will contribute significantly to the growth of Artificial Intelligence Journalism, and uses of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies in the media and entertainment industry.
Artificial Intelligence Journalism for Research and Forecasting has identified the 10 growth opportunities as the following:
1- Significant Growth in VoD Market
The COVID-19 crisis has increased demand for VOD services around the world.
The global Video on Demand (VOD) market is primarily driven due to growing adoption of mobile devices for watching online videos and increasing internet based consumer spending. VoD solutions help viewers reach any connected device, providing key competitive advantage in terms of consumer reach. In addition, the rapid developments in high-speed networks are enabling video on demand service providers to deliver faster downloading and streaming service to users. The adoption of mobile TV and multi-screen services for content viewing is increasing. (WiseGuy Reports).
The Video on Demand Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12. 2% over the forecast period 2020 – 2025. Video on Demand (VoD) offers a wide array of video programs that include entertainment, films, sports, and educational programs, according to Reportlinker report “Video on Demand Market – Growth”.
The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic has led to the lockdown in all over the world. This lockdown has created a positive impact on the video-on-demand market as the restrictions on the movement of people during the pandemic have resulted in a lot of consumers across world streaming entertainment more and more. According to the estimates by Rapid TV News, the global SVoD users would grow by 5% and amount to 949 million owing to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
10 Growth Opportunities for Media and Entertainment Industry During the COVID-19 Crisis.
2- Growing Use and Reliance on New Technologies in Artificial Intelligence Journalism
The Covid-19 crisis has helped in increasing opportunities for the growth of artificial intelligence technologies and their use in many fields to limit the spread of the pandemic. Especially in the media, where the reliance on many technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to publish and broadcast their right content, or counter false content using artificial intelligence technologies.
Many of the news wires also are using big data analysis to track Covid-19 cases, as well as to create specialized reports on the Covid-19 pandemic, using new tools such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as machine learning and algorithms.
For instance, artificial intelligence and automation support both content-sourcing and commissioning. Swedish news site Aftonbladet partnered with Swedish tech company United Robots to develop the Corona Watch newsdesk tool, a real-time feed of COVID-related data pulled from official government websites, which notifies reporters when new cases are logged, enabling them to be the first to report on new developments. (World Economic Forum)
In early 2020, Warner Bros. partnered with analytics company Cinelytic to use its AI-driven film management solution, which uses predictive analytics based on cast performance, viewer preferences and distribution scenarios to forecast a film’s revenue potential and to inform project approvals and content acquisition.
Also, Machine Learning helped researchers and practitioners analyze large volumes of data to forecast the spread of COVID-19, in order to act as an early warning system for future pandemics and to identify vulnerable populations. Researchers at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub in California have built a model to estimate the number of COVID-19 infections that go undetected and the consequences for public health, analyzing 12 regions across the globe. (WEF Report).
10 Growth Opportunities for Media and Entertainment Industry During the COVID-19 Crisis.
3- A Breakthrough in Media Techniques to Identify Fake Content
During the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has faced a torrent of news and fake content through the internet and social media, even using the name of the pandemic was used in thousands of fraud and cybercrime. This increase is necessary to create new tools in the media to check Covid-19 misinformation and the fake content.
For instance, despite Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and propaganda, the social network has enabled 3.8 billion views of health misinformation in the past year, according to Avaaz.
Earlier this year, Facebook partnered with such organizations to drive users toward reliable information and weed out disinformation related to COVID-19. While these efforts may have had some impact, Avaaz found that overall misinformation related to health issues received 460 million views in April 2020, and 3.8 billion over the past year. Last week, Facebook has revealed that the artificial intelligence systems it uses to police its social media sites are now good enough to automatically flag more than 94% of hate speech on its social media sites, as well as catching more than 96% of content linked to organized hate groups.
4- Video Games Became One of the Largest Winners of the Pandemic
As a result of Covid-19 pandemic, the world has faced restrictions on travel, activity and public gatherings imposed in most countries, where many people have been forced to stay at home, in some cases completely negating the social life of a consumer. For many of them, gaming has become a substitute for social interaction, as people crave competition and cooperation and use virtual worlds to meet these needs.
Simon-Kucher & Partners’ report reveals that there was a 30% jump in the ‘gamer’ and ‘serious gamer’ brackets during the crisis, presumably as casual gamers increased their playing time. A significant share of these new gamers are expected to remain glued to their screen even after the crisis. In fact, the overall increase in the higher brackets from pre-crisis to post-crisis levels is expected to level out at 17% in months to come.
Gaming spend has already increased dramatically during Covid-19, jumping by nearly 40% when compared to pre-crisis levels. And spending is expected to remain high even after the crisis, predicting a 21% sustained jump in the future relative to spending before Covid-19.
The result is that the global gaming industry is expected to reach a value of $170 billion by the end of this year, exceeding previous forecasts by as much as 50%. Where the year-on-year increase was initially pegged at 9% to reach $160 billion, Simon-Kucher predicts that it will probably reach anywhere between 12% and 15% as a result of the crisis. (Simon-Kucher & Partners).
5- Enhancing the Role of the Media Based on Social responsibility, Education and Raising Awareness
The current crisis has given a great opportunity to the media to play a significant role to educate people and play its responsibility role to protect people from the pandemic and misinformation.
World Economic Forum’s report ” Building Back Better Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry”:
” This has been the moment for media, entertainment and platform companies to step up to their mission to inform, educate and entertain”. The current environment has undoubtedly accelerated trends that were in view four years ago. But more than that, what has come into sharper focus is the imperative to revisit long-held assumptions, to rebuild, redesign and reprioritize to create a more trusted, prosperous, resilient, and equitable industry.
It will widen the gulf between those who have embraced digital transformation and social responsibility and those who have not. Just as importantly, it is a test of leadership both at an industry level, where collective responsibility and accountability will set the industry on a firmer footing, and at an individual level, where the blueprint for industry leaders is evolving to encompass agility, impact, responsibility, and authenticity.
6- Accelerating of Media Digital Transformation and Growth of Artificial Intelligence Journalism
Not all media companies had made the transition to digital before the COVID-19 crisis.
But after the pandemic, the covid-19 crisis has sharpened the focus on digital transformation in an industry that has long been at the forefront of innovation. Accelerating digital transformation for many in the industry, investments over recent years have enabled them to react quickly, while for some the crisis created an urgency to move faster across digital distribution, cloud-based production, data-driven operations and cybersecurity. Compared to 2019, the average time spent with digital media in 2020 is expected to grow by 11.9% in the US, 11.1% in Germany and 9.5% in China. (World Economic Forum) .
This increase puts the resilience of digital services to the test. Media and entertainment companies have demonstrated that the ability to dynamically scale and optimize investments in cloud services, content delivery networks and load balancing analytics is foundational.
Museums, theatres and print-only publications were forced to invest in digital offerings as COVID-19 closed physical spaces, disrupted print supply chains and drove consumption online.
For example, MPI shifted its print magazine, The Meeting Professional, to a digital-only publication and doubled its distribution from 50,000 editions in print to 100,000 in digital. While physical spaces and traditional consumption will come back, digital offerings can augment inperson experiences and provide new opportunities to engage users.
7- UP to 90% of Media and Publishing Companies Working and Hiring Remotely
After the escalation of the Covid-19 crisis, companies and governments had moved fast to innovate new ways to work remotely, and now, we can see more than the half of the global workforce, and students are working and studying remotely and as the pandemic continues to threaten health, we are looking at a prolonged period of hybrid working – from home and office in different proportions.
For instance, in media, the pandemic has created a climate of accelerated innovation and focus. At Reuters people had to shift to a nearly completely virtual model almost overnight, from how newsrooms operate to how we conduct business, and they have embraced new ways of working for themselves and customers, adding new technologies and partners to meet media customers’ changing needs. The Reuters team has helped customers to create virtual newsrooms, with cloud-based tools that can be used anywhere and AI content recommendations to enhance the user journey. (WEF).
Another example, News organizations and networks relied more heavily on distributed home studios. The Discovery Channel’s The Pioneer Woman saw host Ree Drummond film episodes from home. Discovery was able to shoot remote episodes of the show at 10–20% of the average cost.25 While distributed production drove cost savings and new content during the crisis, it has the potential to create lasting changes to production and audience engagement models.
8- Improving Journalists’ skills in Using New Technologies and to Communicate with the Public Remotely
Media has succeeded in creating new tools and solutions, either through artificial intelligence technologies or upgrading old tools, which were considered as new tools to some of journalists and media workers, and it was required to gain new skills to communicate with the target audience and create new content adapting to new media channels of the Covid-19 crisis.
There are some journalists in countries such as in Africa and Asia who have never use remote video programs such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams before this crisis, and there are those who have never used analyzing big data using artificial intelligence except with the Covid-19crisis, nor analyzing many of that data to create a real news story.
Covid-19 crisis was strongly helped the journalists to develop and acquire new skills in dealing with new technologies and tools, and were pushing some of them to invent smart solutions to reach their target audience remotely.
9- Growth in Media and Entertainment Workforce Number During Covid-19 Crisis
As lockdowns continue worldwide, to curtail the spread of COVID-19, media has to create varied content and news every single minute to keep its target audience.
Global Web Index found that over 80% of consumers in the U.S. and UK say they consume more content since the outbreak, with broadcast TV and online videos (YouTube, TikTok) being the primary mediums across all generations and genders. Unsurprisingly, 68% of consumers are seeking out pandemic updates online over any other activity.
Also, the number of journalism and media Influencers has been increased using their individual social media or traditional media channels.
Many media companies have requested to hire thousands of journalists and content watchers, especially to fight the spread of Covid-19 fake content.
According to The Los Angeles Times, hiring has continued in animation/interactive media, podcasting, streaming, social media and e-sports/gaming. Where the most in-demand skills are evolving, where increased and sustained hiring in big data, analytics and revenue-related functions in response to the accelerated shift to digital consumption and more effective targeting.
10- Social Media Becomes a Primary Source of Information Compared to the Traditional Media
The outbreak is bringing back the “social” aspects of social media.
The pandemic has made social media the protagonist of this era. Reportedly, WhatsApp and Facebook are the top social platforms to connect with friends and family during this time. 69% of consumers in US are using Facebook and 66% say they’re using Facebook messenger. WhatsApp continues to take the top spot in the UK across generations, gender, and income – rising to 77% among millennials and those in the highest income bracket, according to GlobalWebIndex’s report .
Additionally, COVID-19 is transforming people to embrace being avid news readers. Reportedly, 49% of U.S. and 39% of UK consumers are reading more news stories on social media as a result of the outbreak – this is the primary motivator to use social media across markets, gender, and income right now.
Of more than 4.57 billion internet users now, Social media has become the main source of news online for many people around the world, and during COVID-19 pandemic, people keep watching news in social media then click back to news portals for more details.
and now most of the traffic to news sites referred from social media.
- Building Back Better:An Action Plan for the Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry, World Economic Forum, JULY 2020.
- Covid-19 accelerates global video gaming market, Simon Kucher & Partners, September 2020.
- Facebook’s algorithm drove 3.8 billion views of health misinformation, – Avaaz, August 2020.
- Media and entertainment in flux: it’s time for the close-up, Robin Murdoch, Global Industry Sector Lead, World Economic Forum, July 2020.
- Publishers in quarantine: the effect of Covid-19 on digital media consumption, GlobalWebIndex Report, May 2020.
- With sports in lockdown, does COVID-19 herald the victory of video gaming? Robin Pomeroy, Digital Editor, World Economic Forum, May 2020.
- Video on Demand Market – Global Industry, Reportlinker, September 2020.
- VOD Market 2020 Global Market Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies and Forecasts 2026” , WiseGuy Reports, September 2020.