Streaming of content is now mainstream in media and entertainment, as now households adopt video, gaming, or music streaming platforms. We now live in a golden era of content, where almost every existing movie, TV show, song, and game is available somewhere digitally. Clearly, streaming has helped solve the problem of access to content, but at the same time it has made it more difficult for consumers to find what they want or like, given the sheer abundance of content choices and outlets. Meanwhile, content creators and distributors struggle to stand out and connect with viewers. The good news is that the next big tech disruptions to better match content and consumers are underway.
Finding the best content
It is amazing how still today, after all the Advances in the development of algorithms used by streaming services to recommend content to consumers, the main source is friends, family, and social media. In a survey released in late 2021, word of mouth came on top, with 59% of respondents using it to find new content.
With a new reality where Massive content is available to billions of consumers, Recommender algorithms used by streaming platforms are necessary to match consumers with content. Also, targeted ads to consumers can help match consumers and content. Yet both are still not up to their word of mouth. How can search algorithms and targeted ads improve to provide the right recommendations to consumers?
The old way of creating and marketing content in Hollywood, which some still use, is sometimes referred to as ‘spray and pray’: Develop a high end poster, trailer, or description of a movie or TV show that appeals to large market segments, in the hopes that it will attract attention. But, just as Netflix famously disrupted this by showing different trailers for the same show to different users based on their viewing history, there should be a way for all content creators and distributors to personalize trailers, taglines, and advertisements.
Brett Danaher, Chief Data Scientist at entertainment start-up Katch, says: “Even if you and I would both love the movie Gladiator, it might appeal to me for its lush cinematography and rich aesthetics, while it might appeal to you for Maximus’s quest for Revenge combined with a triumphant score. Shouldn’t the digital ads for this movie reflect our differing tastes? Moreover, there is likely someone else out there for whom Gladiator isn’t appealing – shouldn’t they see ads for another movie entirely? ”
Katch collects thousands of ‘Genomic’ characteristics for film, TV, and other content, which can be aggregated to come up with higher levels of ‘traits’. This is similar to the Genomic project by Pandora to classify music, and the Video Genome Project acquired by Hulu in 2016. The idea is that micro-categories of content can be matched to micro-segments of consumers, based on the content traits they prefer . These and other data-driven Innovations are bound to emerge to complement the power of word of mouth, so consumers can find what they want and content Creators can stand out in the vast array of content offerings.
Creating the best content
With a retrospective analysis of how consumers are attracted to content, wouldn’t it be great to go back and adjust content to create the perfect match? This may have been a dream for years ago, but with virtual production Advances, this is now possible, as follows.
Graphic engine hardware and real-time rendering softwares like Unity and Unreal have brought us photo-realistic games, and they have just entered live action filmmaking, following the pioneering footsteps of Disney’s Mandalorian. In the Mandalorian, rather than using physical sets or a real location, virtual sets were created with Unreal and displayed in Gigantic LED screens. Actors and real props were then brought into the foreground (see video below). These virtual sets can be digitally generated or they can come from live footage.
Think about the ground-breaking Economics and effectiveness of this advanced in-camera virtual production. Carlos Vidal, Creative Director at Method Studios, states: “You don’t have to transport equipment, crew, and Actors on location and be at the Mercy of the weather or time of day. You are now in the comfort of a controlled sound stage where adjustments can be made in real-time, and where compositional elements like buildings and clouds can be moved to create the composition that best tells the story. ”
While on set and through the lens of the camera, directors and creatives can see their vision in the final form in front of their eyes, while in the traditional process it takes months of post-production to see the final image. The next day a sequence could be assembled and market tested. For example, you can determine the Genomic, granular characteristics of the cut, test it on a specific audience, and decide on re-shoots or enhanced visual effects to improve a Genomic characteristic or trait, even before the Actors go to their next film .
Matching consumers with the best content
Note that this concept of micro-categorization and dynamic production of content that enables micro-targeting can be applied to all kinds of video content, including games and virtual reality. In the vast streaming market, word of mouth will not be enough and content Creators and distributors must embrace technologies that tailor content, ads, and recommendations at the micro-segment level. AMC, for example, just announced a deal with Katch for greenlighting, programming, and marketing of content for its streaming service AMC +. Those who do not innovate and adapt will be left behind.