The Amazing Streaming Balancing Act
by Cat Hausler
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It’s the end of the world as we know it, but we feel fine
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Artificial intelligence; it’s so hot right now. While science fiction threatened (promised?) us that machine overlords would control our every move, so far the real-world application has been significantly less theatrical. From text generators to image creation, search engines to a personal DJ, it seems like you can’t turn around without encountering another AI tool designed to make life easier.
Not counting programming itself, marketing might be the industry most impacted by the rise of AI. While copywriters and designers initially worried about these programs taking their jobs, the end results have been less threatening—and have opened up a legal can of worms as well. But when viewed as a tool, like a hammer, AI can produce some helpful outcomes in skilled hands. And lately, the advertising industry is buying these hammers in bulk.
Last week, Spectrum’s ad sales business, Spectrum Reach, got into the AI game with a new “first-of-its-kind AI-powered platform” video production platform. By leveraging similar technology to ChaptGPT and Dall-E2, Spectrum Reach now allows advertisers to type in information about their business and quickly generate personalized TV ads. The platform even enables advertisers to create AI-produced voiceover work by accessing 11 different voice options, each with its own timbre, speed, and tone.
According to Spectrum, the new platform personalizes ads by reviewing a business’ social footprint, including social media channels and online reviews. The company promises that an entire commercial can be produced in five minutes or less, letting brands get on air significantly faster than through traditional means. Spectrum hopes this new AI-led technology will fit the needs of smaller to mid-sized businesses, allowing brands without big budgets to create “ready to air” commercials more affordably and easily – without the need for scriptwriters, video shoots, acting talent, set design, and post-production work. While the jury’s out on actual outcomes, it’s likely opening the door for brands to test the TV waters and inspiring competing AI platforms.
Spectrum’s use of AI for television ads is just one more example of the ad industry’s embracing of artificial intelligence. A quick skim of industry headlines reveals a repeating theme: brands are using AI more and more. Coca-Cola recently announced a partnership with Bain & Company and OpenAI (the owner of ChaptGPT and DALL-E 2) to explore how AI can enhance the brand’s ad creative. PR and marketing firms are employing AI tools to perform better analysis. And even MNTN’s Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Reynolds, recently used ChatGPT to create an entire commercial for his cellular brand, Mint Mobile.
On the Connected TV side, AI and automation tools are making the channel easier to use. Premium CTV platforms like MNTN Performance TV use tech that automatically optimizes ads thousands of times a day to generate performance outcomes for advertisers. And programmatic advertising uses algorithmic tools to automate the buying and selling of digital ad space. This lets advertisers forgo the process of placing ads manually, letting them instead create rules for how, when, and where ads are launched—an especially handy tool for small businesses that need a low-cost and low-effort advertising solution. As CTV continues to grow in popularity, and creative increasingly becomes more in-demand, it’s likely we’ll see more advancements in automation designed to streamline the CTV advertising experience.
While AI might solve a lot of advertising struggles, it’s not without its drawbacks. Shortly after the arrival of AI design tools, artists noticed a disturbing trend—the AI was repurposing their works without permission, leading to a flurry of copyright lawsuits and potential complications for brands caught in the cross-fire. Generative text AI tools like Chat GPT, while useful for writing prompts, emails, and low-effort content, have also come under growing scrutiny for both their habit of pulling outdated and/or inaccurate information and being unable to write for more complicated topics.
Additionally, AI could give some advertisers a false sense of confidence if they’re not deploying those ads via the proper advertising channels or solutions (this includes CTV advertising platforms). After all, even the best ads in the world don’t mean much if they’re not being seen on premium networks, targeted to the right audiences, and sending back valuable real-time insights. To keep the hammer analogy going, you won’t build anything without pairing it with the nails to make it complete.
Like all tools, AI will undoubtedly continue to grow and evolve — who could have predicted CTV’s current state back when it was just Netflix and Hulu? But in the meantime, many brands are choosing to dip, not dive, into the AI pool. Perhaps the most popular and best-performing solution is relying on hybrid solutions, such as using AI-powered insights paired with creative advertisers and agencies.
Options like QuickFrame by MNTN or Creative-as-a-Subscription match brands with creative teams that may use AI-powered tools, but use them to guide and assist the creative human mind. The end result is similar to using an AI-powered video platform: high-impact creative, launched without the need for video production and costs-–but with more of the creative human touch that’s unmatched by machines. For now, at least. In the meantime, we’re excitedly watching the advancement of generative AI to see what it will do next—and thankful that it’s more C-3PO than Skynet.