Entertainment Revolution : AI & BigData are Transforming the Industry
The film industry is no stranger to the benefits of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to become the next game-changer. As filmmakers look for ways to create more engaging content and streamline processes, AI brings a multitude of opportunities. Being a data scientist myself, specialized in AI in the creative industries, I am happy to share some thoughts on the various ways AI can be integrated into the movie industry, from scriptwriting to marketing and distribution, alongside the impact of Big Data on the Film&TV industry.
Big Data in the Film&TV Industry
Big Data refers to the massive volume of data, both structured and unstructured, that inundates human activity every day. It is changing the way businesses operate, and its applications span across various domains, including healthcare, retail, finance, transportation, and entertainment, to name a few. The Film&TV industry is complex and involves a number of different workflows and entities collaborating to create a collaborative creative work. The role of information technology in these processes varies greatly depending on each creation stage and setup. While the systematic use of computing techniques has quickly affected entities and individuals involved in post-production and distribution, the creation stages (ideation, pre-production, and production) have remained relatively unaffected by data processing, algorithms, and more generally, data sciences progress. However, the potential impact of Big Data on the Film&TV industry was soon realized.
Big Data's first use in the Film&TV industry was for better distribution and understanding of the customer base – the infamous "recommendation algorithms". The emergence of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu has played a major role in the transformation of content distribution models, with data at the heart of their business model. Netflix, in particular, has played a large role in popularizing the concept of Big Data and the validity of such an approach regarding film for both the public and the industry.
The case of Big Data in the Chinese Animation Industry
The case of China's animated film industry further illustrates Big Data use as a proactive tool, embedded within the development and implementation of studios' strategies. As a relatively young industry, Chinese animation studios have been relying on a data-driven approach to develop: audience data analysis is exploited from the creative stage to tailor their productions and reach target audiences accordingly. For example, Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation uses big data analytics to identify the content that will resonate most with Chinese audiences.
A studio department is analyzing data from various sources, including online streaming platforms and social media, identifying and comparing trending storylines, characters, designs, etc. Such data is used to define the specifics of animation content to be produced. By using Big Data, the Chinese animation industry is increasing its chances of success in a highly competitive market. This approach has proven to be highly effective, with Chinese animated films seeing a surge in popularity both domestically and internationally.
AI-enhanced Content Distribution and Marketing
The success of a film largely depends on effective marketing and distribution strategies. AI can help in identifying target audiences, predicting box-office performance, and optimizing marketing campaigns based on audience preferences and trends. By leveraging AI in these areas, filmmakers can ensure that their films reach the right audience, maximizing revenue and exposure.
AI-Driven Business Management Tools
One notable approach to incorporating AI in the film industry is by focusing on automation to streamline various processes and tasks. Companies are developing a range of tools and solutions designed to automate tasks such as Workflow management, financial modeling, contractual analysis, crew management, bulk data treatment, rights management, revenue collection and allocation - among others. By using AI-powered algorithms, these tools can quickly and accurately ingest and analyze large volumes of industry-specific data (including contractual), organize the information in an easily accessible format. This not only saves time and reduces manual effort, but also minimizes the risk of errors and oversights, and generates business intelligence. Automation-based AI solutions can simplify rights management by consolidating commercial, contractual, and financial data at a reduced cost, making it easier for stakeholders to track and manage their assets and ultimately leading to better-informed decisions and improved business outcomes.
AI-Powered Scriptwriting and Big Data in Ideation and Creation Stages
One of the most promising applications of AI in the Film&TV industry is AI-enhanced/generated content. By analyzing vast amounts of data from previously successful shows, AI algorithms can generate new story ideas based on audience preferences and trends. This approach can help screenwriters craft more compelling stories that resonate with viewers, ultimately leading to better box office results and audience satisfaction. Big Data has already proven highly efficient in the ideation and creation stages of the film industry with the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime becoming major players in content production, challenging the industry's traditional players. Streaming services have not only transformed the way people watch movies and TV shows, but also the way content projects are assessed, developed and produced.
Computer modeling of viewer expectations is a valuable source of information for the industry to answer the recurring question, "What makes a film a hit with audiences?". Audience-related Big Data enables filmmakers to make informed decisions about the types of content to produce and how to distribute and market them. In this regard, Big Data has already become a powerful tool for content producers to identify in-demand content and their target audience. AI is just the next step.
Casting is also a critical aspect of filmmaking, and AI has the potential to revolutionize this process. AI can analyze previous actors' performances and identify those who would be most suitable for specific roles based on their acting styles, facial expressions, and audience preferences. This could lead, theoretically, to more accurate casting decisions and better on-screen chemistry among actors, ultimately enhancing the overall quality of films.
AI in content editing and Visual Effects
The post-production process can be time-consuming and expensive, but AI can help streamline film editing. By analyzing raw footage, AI can automatically select the best shots for the final edit, speeding up the process and reducing costs. This technology could also improve the overall quality of the film by ensuring that only the most impactful scenes make it into the final cut. As a matter of fact, such analysis algorithms already exist.
Visual effects play a significant role in creating immersive experiences for audiences. AI can assist in generating realistic visual effects by analyzing real-world data and producing lifelike simulations. Here again, theoretically, it could help create visually stunning shows more likely to captivate viewers and transport them to new worlds.
By integrating AI and Big Data into various aspects of the film industry, filmmakers can streamline processes, reduce costs, create more engaging content that caters to the ever-changing tastes of audiences worldwide, but also increase businesses efficiency and profitability. As AI and Big Data continue to develop, getting more sophisticated every day, their impact on the Film&TV industry is poised to become more significant. Embracing AI technology and Big Data is meant to help deliver more successful and profitable productions, but also reshape the way the industry operates.
The challenge, therefore, is not to fight AI but to gear the industry, so that AI does not replace filmmakers, but always remain at their service, helping them bring their idiosyncratic vision to the screens, big or small.