Connected TV

Are All AI Features Created Equal? Not in Video and CTV

With AI, there’s no fate but what we make — and YouTube’s new tool proves that how your business uses AI can have a huge impact on the industry

Are All AI Features Created Equal? Not in Video and CTV

3 Min Read

AI in advertising continues to be a hotly debated topic, but it’s already reached a new frontier: now it can tell viewers what it thinks they want, and further shaping the viewing — and potentially the advertising — experience. Last week, YouTube announced a new YouTube Premium feature for U.S. users that uses AI to analyzewatch behavior and, with a simple double-tap of the screen, skip to where it predicts the user will want to go next. Whether or not this feature will migrate to non-premium users is yet to be determined, but if it works, there’s no question that it would catch on in the industry, leaving a big “what if” for marketers: What would this skip-to-the-important-bit feature look like in an ad-supported environment? 

Don’t Disrupt the Viewer (or Advertiser) Experience

Of course, a feature that predicts what a user will consider “the good part” of a video probably won’t be taking the Connected TV advertising environment by storm any time soon. Ad-supported streaming depends on viewers not being able to skip through ad breaks, and viewers don’t actually mind things as they are: 62% still prefer free ad-support streaming over ever-pricier paid subscriptions, and the majority of Gen Z and Millennials say CTV runs better quality ads than linear TV. Streaming networks see bigger margins on ad-supported plans, and automated technology like MNTN is already hard at work ensuring the right audiences see the right ads, which means the “irrelevant” part of any watch experience is already dwindling. The unskippable nature of CTV ad tiers is working for most parties.

And who’s to say what content is considered boring or interesting in a video, anyway? We think this is a very subjective call to make, one that can have pretty serious implications when the decision making is taken out of users’ hands; it’s something that the viewer can and should decide for themself. 

Which Direction Should AI Be Going?

For better or worse, companies are trying to use AI to create a better experience on video platforms. How AI changes the user experience — and whether it works — in the long run remains to be seene. But we think AI is best when it’s more service driven. Tools that help advertisers prepare their marketing strategies by better identifying audiences, streamlining creative production to generate performance, and simplifying administrative work are perfect examples of AI that assists rather than drives. 

Because Connected TV advertising on platforms like MNTN combines the best of both worlds (the ease of setting up campaigns akin to search and social, in a prestige big-screen format that naturally draws in and engages viewers), adding AI into the mix has the potential to both elevate both the viewer and advertiser experiencing, without alienating one or the other — no double-tapping necessary. 

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