Technology

How media can tap new tech to enrich content

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Summary

  • Traditional media is late to the AI party.
  • The sector resisted developments until startups, social media, and search juggernauts irreversibly moved their cheese.
  • Artificial intelligence runs on data and models. Solutions should begin by uncovering the motivation.

Traditional media is late to the AI party. The sector resisted developments until startups, social media, and search juggernauts irreversibly moved their cheese.

Artificial intelligence runs on data and models. Solutions should begin by uncovering the motivation. Is it driving engagement, increasing subscriptions, reducing churn, or unlocking a new demographic? Today I explore three objectives.

Engagement

Personalisation brings relevance and stickability, which primes audiences for monetisation. You have already engaged with dynamic feeds on social networks, where what you see and what another sees is different depending on your profile and variety of signals.

ByteDance, the parent company of news aggregator Toutiao and social network TikTok stands out in its use of artificial intelligence to curate content through its 4,000 partners.

There has been pushback by traditional media on curation, which Opera, for example, has used quite well in its news product. Media houses now have commercial access to similar capabilities towards predicting and personalising content.

The Long Tail

Politics, business, and sports are content hooks. Yet all are both deep and wide. How can media practitioners use artificial intelligence to address the long tail of consumption? Business and sports are data and statistics-driven, a fantastic foundation to build on. A business feed can be from the Bloomberg Terminal or the local stock market while sports feeds are available from many vendors.

Natural language generation allows one to create accurate, insightful, and personalised human-sounding content on-demand and at scale.

For example, a sports desk can provide detailed recaps on all games played across different genres of sport as soon as the final whistle blows. This content can then be availed to users immediately on their preferred channel.

Safe Spaces

The ability to engage with a topic drives participation but, the headache comes with moderation. How can we ensure safe digital spaces for discourse? Top of mind is the free Perspective API by Jigsaw and Google’s Counter Abuse Tech team. It is currently available in seven languages and uses machine learning ‘to identify toxic comments, making it easier to host better conversations online'. One can apply it to any text-based interaction.

Artificial intelligence is but a cog in a larger ecosystem. Investments ought to be made towards realising its promise. This may mean going digital-first in editorial processes and tooling. Ultimately, the media house objectives determine stack selection and flavour of execution.

Njihia is the head of business and partnerships at Sure Corporation | www.mbuguanjihia.com | @mbuguanjihia