AI in TV Advertising - Use Data
The use and presence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the television advertising industry is beginning to grow more popular in the U.S., as broadcasting networks such as NBC Universal (NBCU) and C-SPAN are using the technology for multiple purposes. NBCU specifically is using AI to scan TV show scripts while airing in order to match relevant ads to the TV content. C-SPAN has introduced AI technology to the network in order to automate transcribing and closed-caption processes with the intention of assistant viewers/readers in searching for relevant content. A study from TV Technology that was completed in Fall 2017 surveyed over 300 businesses in the media and enterprise industry. Results from this study showed that broadcast, cable, and governmental education TV networks have tested and are beginning to use AI technology to some extent. Below you will find a brief methodology section depicting how the information for this topic was gathered, in addition to two case studies on NBCU and C-SPAN and their use of AI for TV advertising, as well as the results of the study from TV Technology for an industry-wide use estimation.
In order to find content related to the use of AI in the TV advertising industry, multiple searches were conducted first for hard data on the topic. However, after multiple trials and error, no previously compiled reports or information from a single location were available. Statistics were more readily available for video-on-demand services (such as Netflix), and perhaps this may want to be addressed separately in another request. There were also many articles available that provided qualitative data on the use of AI in the TV advertising industry (such as for CBS), but only statistics for NBCU were officially stated. A search for more generalized data on the use of AI as a whole (as opposed to case studies for specific networks) produced the study by TV Technology. This report summarizes the overall use of AI in the market right now and even provides an idea of what percentage of companies in the TV broadcasting commerce are testing AI technology but not yet using it. As a result, this study will be consulted to gain a broader understanding of the use of AI technology in the TV advertising business as a whole.
Comcast NBC Universal
As NBCU increases the presence of AI on their network, the overall goal of the company is to meet consumer demands for fewer ads. This goal is ideally to be met by using AI technology to scan live TV scripts during airtime in order to match relevant ads to the show. In doing so, the network is expecting to decrease total advertising times by 10% on all of their channels, as well as decreasing the number of commercials aired during a break by 20%. These changes are expected to begin running live by the fourth quarter of 2018 whenever fall TV show seasons begin.
To build upon the use of AI to market more relevant ads, NBCU is also hoping to implement what they call the "60-second prime pod." This new advertising mechanism will be a result of the AI-chosen ads. The "prime pod" ads will run during the first and last commercial break of an aired TV episode and last for 60-seconds each. NBCU is expecting this new system to increase program lengths by 10 minutes, which in turn will allow the network to run 15 additional days worth of TV shows and other content in a year.
These changes and implementations as a result of the AI-scanning technology are expected to take place during at least 50 shows that are aired by NBCU on networks including NBC, E!, USA, and Bravo. The company also knows that they plan to invoke this method during Saturday Night Live on NBC, reducing the number of commercials by a total of 30% for this show alone.
In 2017, C-SPAN began using AI technology across their three TV stations to automate transcriptions and closed-captioning processes, as well as to automate image-recognition for their online content. At the moment, C-SPAN is using this technology to match speakers to a database of over 99,000 government personnel and transcription their words immediately. This technology is going to be saved into a system that will then allow users to search for content by words and have video content produced as a result. There are not any statistics on the success of this process yet, as it is still in the works.
TV Technology Study
According to the study completed in Fall 2017, approximately two-thirds of all respondents from the media enterprise industry have at least tested out and/or are currently using AI technology in some way. Of the types of groups and networks included in the study, the percents that reported testing/using AI are as follows:
— Production/post-production studios: 10%
— Corporate government educational TV networks: 17%
The types of actions that are carried out through these networks and group with AI included:
— Automated clip generation/distribution: 36%
— Content quality assurance/measurement: 36%
In the broadcasting and streaming companies included in this study, some of the most popular uses of AI included indexing both current and archived data so that public users could immediately retrieve specific information through the AI system, as well as transcribing and translating all current and archived content. Further uses including monitoring content, advertising and placing content strategically.
It is interesting to note that the common actions noted in the study — metadata creation, clip distribution, automated captioning, and image recognition — are all actions that were noted to be used both by NBCU and C-SPAN, even though these networks were not specifically stated within the study. This leads to the conclusion that the information gathered by the TV Technology study could likely apply to both these networks and other major TV agencies in the U.S.
The use of AI technology in the TV advertising is likely to grow in coming years, as a large number of broadcasting and TV networks have reported at least testing out the technology, if not already using it in some form. NBCU and C-SPAN are prime examples of ways in which this technology can be used for advertising and expediting certain services in the TV advertising. Although not addressed in this report for being out of scope, another request may be of use on use data for AI technology in video-on-demand services, as there seems to be more hard data immediately available for this industry.