NAB Show Preview: AI coming to every facet of broadcast production

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As the broadcasting industry gathers in Las Vegas for the annual NAB Show, one theme is dominating the conversation: the transformative power of artificial intelligence (AI). From content creation to delivery and monetization, AI is poised to revolutionize every aspect of the media landscape.

“AI will be the big buzz term seen everywhere at NAB, but there is good reason for that. It’s a tool that will help every part of live production,” said Chris Black, global head of brand and communications and AI evangelist at Vizrt. “From media asset management and interaction with live graphics to automation and virtual production – it will certainly make a difference in producing a visually stunning broadcast that will hold the audience’s attention.”

Embracing AI as part of an overall strategy

While AI has been a topic of discussion in the industry for years, the focus is shifting from isolated applications to comprehensive, end-to-end solutions.

“The success of this revolution requires pivoting from isolated solutions and instead embracing AI as part of an overall strategy with integrated workflows,” said Eric Toulain, director of product management at Ateliere. “And that’s exactly what we can expect from this year’s NAB Show.”

This shift towards a unified approach is evident in the solutions being showcased at the event. Companies like Ateliere are developing platforms that leverage AI to streamline the entire media supply chain, from production to distribution and monetization. By addressing complex challenges such as personalized content experiences, accessibility and sustainability, these solutions aim to unlock new efficiencies and creative possibilities.

“We’re not just leveraging technology for the sake of innovation; we’re understanding the ‘why’ behind our customers’ needs, crafting solutions that address those needs in meaningful ways and continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the media supply chain,” explained Toulain.

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Redefining workflows and creating more with less

For broadcasters, the pressure to produce more content with fewer resources is driving the adoption of AI.

“Especially in 2024 where we have major events like the Paris Olympics and a US presidential election on the horizon,” said James Fraser, VP, US sales at Moments Lab. “Multimodal and generative AI technology is now widely accepted as an assistive tool that can help media organizations enhance content analysis, automate elements of video production workflows and achieve cost savings across departments in an ever-challenging economic climate.”

With 50 countries going to the polls in this record-breaking election year, broadcasters are acutely aware of the importance of delivering engaging and informative content to viewers.

“Broadcasters know that every second counts and viewers will rely on their coverage to stay informed and entertained. AI will certainly play a part in delivering this important content,” added Black.

The potential for AI to transform workflows is particularly evident in the realm of quality assurance (QA).

“Automation has helped QA teams test at scale and AI is now enabling them to complete that process faster and more efficiently than ever before,” said Mathieu Planche, CEO at Witbe. “In a world where all video services need to be delivered to multiple devices at once, AI has an opportunity to help testers sustainably achieve that goal.”

The advances in AI for broadcast applications have been remarkable since the previous NAB Show, with a considerably more mature understanding of the technology for media use cases.

“I’m excited to have conversations in Las Vegas focused on the immediate value and tangible ROI that comes from implementing multimodal AI-powered solutions within companies’ media ecosystems,” said Fraser. “These include reducing the time it takes to source the media assets required to build a video story by 50% and the establishment of new revenue streams through the monetization of archived content.”

Optimizing OTT platforms and enhancing user experiences

As the industry continues to shift towards streaming, AI is also playing a crucial role in optimizing over-the-top (OTT) platforms and improving user experiences. “In the coming year, we believe that AI and ML will play an even greater role in optimizing OTT platforms, helping service providers conquer the challenging quest of retaining subscribers,” said Mrugesh Desai, VP North America at Accedo.

One key application is using AI to predict user behavior and identify customers at risk of canceling their subscriptions. By leveraging historical data and engagement patterns, service providers can proactively target retention efforts towards high-risk users. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and conversational interfaces are helping to streamline customer support, reducing churn caused by billing or technical issues.

“With the help of these technologies, users can easily navigate the service, discover new content or quickly get answers about their subscriptions,” explained Desai. “AI chatbots are the heroes in providing fast solutions to billing or technical problems – which are major causes that lead to involuntary churn. Fast and hassle-free support that meets and exceeds customer expectations is a real competitive advantage that will make you stand out among other OTT platforms in the market.”

Harnessing AI for compression efficiencies and data analytics

Beyond content creation and delivery, AI is also being harnessed to improve compression efficiencies and data analytics.

“We have already harnessed AI for compression efficiencies and we’ll be watching the AI and GenAI trends closely to see what further efficiencies we can bring to the video delivery workflow,” said Remi Beaudouin, chief strategy officer at Ateme.

In the realm of data analytics, companies like Zixi are leveraging AI and machine learning to process billions of data points daily, proactively identifying and flagging issues before they occur.

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“Zixi has achieved a major breakthrough in data analytics with our IDP platform analyzing more than 2.5 trillion telemetry data points, solidifying its leadership position,” said John Wastcoat, SVP of business development and marketing at Zixi. “Leveraging AI and ML-powered algorithms and processing more than 9 billion daily data points a day, the platform can proactively identify and flag issues before they occur.”

The analysis feature of Zixi’s platform enables swift identification of the root cause of issues within minutes, a process that previously took days or weeks and incurred substantial costs for customers.

“Zixi continues to innovate with AI, ML and advanced analytics and will demonstrate the ability to track telemetry metadata across the life of the live stream journey even as video leaves and comes back to the SDVP,” added Wastcoat.

“AI-powered analytic tools have become indispensable. These AI companions offer real-time insights into stream quality, user behavior, and content optimization at a granular level. But the benefits don’t stop there. AI also facilitates seamless collaboration among engineering, development, and marketing teams by providing them with a unified dataset. Engineers can preemptively identify service anomalies, safeguarding the user experience, while marketing teams can pinpoint high-potential content for attracting new users,” said Till Sudworth, CMO of NPAW.

“The integration of artificial intelligence with analytics and customization has reached new heights, enabling per-user curation based on individual viewing histories, behavioral patterns, and platform interactions. This not only revolutionizes how we consume digital content but also ensures heightened customer satisfaction and, crucially, retention rates,” Sudworth added.

Embracing IP video distribution for localized content experiences

As media organizations strive to engage new streaming audiences with localized, tailored content experiences, the shift towards IP video distribution is gaining momentum. “Pivoting to an IP video distribution roadmap unlocks new levels of efficiency and multi-platform scale, increasing the value of live events and linear channel assets while seamlessly expanding distribution across OTT, digital and FAST platforms,” said Nadia Khan, CMO of LTN.

The adoption of IP video distribution is already proving to be a success, with major media brands embracing this strategy to easily manage blackout, rights management, SCTE management and policy-based business rules directly within the transmission network. This paves the way for greater monetization opportunities and enhanced audience engagement.

The future of AI in broadcasting

As the NAB Show 2024 unfolds, it is clear that AI is no longer a futuristic concept but a transformative force shaping the present and future of broadcasting. From content creation and workflows to OTT optimization and data analytics, AI’s applications are vast and far-reaching.

“The NAB Show will serve as a platform for exploring new use cases and AI innovations that extend beyond current applications,” said Raman Abrol, CEO of Vubiquity and GM of Amdocs Media. “Inevitably there will be keen interest in how AI, in general, and GenAI in particular can be seamlessly integrated across the entire media supply chain to enhance efficiency, quality, and content monetization. Our experience demonstrates the power of AI in transforming operations, from content processing and packaging to localization and metadata enrichment. The introduction of our GenAI-led Media Suite sets a benchmark for how media companies can harness AI to innovate and optimize their supply chains. We believe this comprehensive approach will resonate strongly with NAB Show participants.”

As the industry continues to embrace AI as part of an overall strategy, the potential for increased efficiency, enhanced user experiences and new creative possibilities is immense. The NAB Show 2024 offers a glimpse into this exciting future, where AI is not just a buzzword but a powerful tool transforming every aspect of the broadcasting landscape.

“As much as we’re seeing Media & Entertainment embrace AI, we know for a fact that orchestrating data through that workflow is going to be what sets the best apart from the rest. Added efficiency will be how teams get back to being creative – rather than just wrangling data. We can’t wait to see what comes out of this show,” said Barry Evans, CTO, data solutions, pixitmedia by Kalray.

As broadcasters, content providers and technology vendors converge in Las Vegas, the AI revolution in broadcasting is set to take center stage. With the industry poised on the brink of a new era, the NAB Show 2024 promises to be a showcase of the latest innovations, use cases and success stories that will shape the future of media and entertainment.

“The undeniable impact of AI on the media and entertainment industry is the driving force behind this year’s NAB Show. We’re clearly standing on the brink of a new era. The potential for GenAI to bring order to chaos, transform content workflows, and unlock new creative horizons is immense; it’s poised to redefine content creation, management, and monetization in ways we’ve only begun to imagine,” said Toulain.

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