×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Media Companies Trail in Artificial-Intelligence Adoption Amid Fear, Unfamiliarity: PwC Research

Companies in the media sector are generally progressive in embracing digital tech to adapt their businesses — but they are more reluctant than other industries to move forward with artificial intelligence, among other emerging technologies, according to new research from PwC.

Per PwC’s survey of 1,000 U.S. executives for its “2019 AI Predictions” report in multiple industries, 20% said their companies will deploy AI across their businesses next year.

By comparison, media companies are in the extremely early phases of implementing AI, the consulting firm’s research shows. Only a limited few have defined an AI business case and deployment plan — and hardly any have projects currently in process, PwC found. Just 7% of media execs said they are making “substantial” investments in AI, according to PwC.

“AI has been a hot topic, but it’s not in production as much as you think,” said Scott Likens, who lead PwC’s emerging technologies group. “There’s still mystery about emerging technologies among business executives.”

One of the concerns about AI is that it will introduce new problems. The potential for AI-powered cyberthreats was the top-ranked concern among tech, media, and telecommunications execs surveyed by PwC (43% of whom identified it as the No. 1 worry).

“We automatically don’t trust something we don’t understand, even if it’s better,” Likens noted.

There’s also a lack of understanding of how AI can be used to improve efficiencies and create new revenue opportunities, according to Likens. Artificial intelligence, depending on how it’s defined, is 50 years old, he said. So far, though, the promise of AI has been tough to explain. “People say they’re using AI when in fact they’re just using analytics,” Likens said.

The benefits of AI applications can be intangible, according to Likens. For example, it’s hard to measure the extent to which an AI-powered personalization feature for content results in a better overall customer experience, he said.

Among media execs PwC polled, only 12% identified AI as being the “most disruptive” emerging technology in the next three years.

Still, media executives do see the potential for AI applications. Of respondents who picked AI as the No. 1 disruptive technology, 19% said they expect AI will help cut costs, 5% said it will boost productivity, and 3% said it will improve customer experience.

One of the biggest challenges — as with the adoption of any emerging technology — is changing the culture of an organization to embrace it, Likens said. “Changing process takes a lot of time,” he said. “Upskilling the workforce is difficult. There’s knowledge on both sides that has to come together — that includes people with AI domain expertise and businesspeople.”

In addition to AI applications that can reduce costs (like automating call centers and customer service), artificial intelligence used in conjunction with other technologies can produce big wins, according to Likens. “We think the convergence of emerging tech is where it’s at,” he said.

For example, PwC deployed an application for a client (which Likens declined to identify) that combined blockchain and AI to automatically manage content-rights and royalties payments. “A lot of the manual processing went away by automating that smart-contract process,” he said.

Likens also sees promise in combining AI with virtual-reality and other immersive experiences. “With AI it’s not just canned interactions… it’s a live interaction model,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Still from "Andhadhun"

    Microsoft Streaming Deal Lifts Shares in India’s Eros

    Shares of leading Bollywood film distributor Eros International soared by 38% on Thursday following news of the company’s link up with Microsoft to develop a new generation of video streaming platform. The multinational company said that its Eros Now video operation would work with Microsoft Azure to develop its technology in three ways. They seek [...]

  • Comcast X1 DAZN

    Comcast Adds DAZN Sports-Streaming Service to Xfinity Flex, Sets Launch on X1

    DAZN, the digital sports service headed by ex-ESPN boss John Skipper, is now available to Comcast broadband customers on Xfinity Flex and will be available on Xfinity X1 this fall. It’s the first distribution deal for DAZN with a major U.S. provider since it debuted the combat-sports-oriented service in the States a year ago. In [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Raises Bar for Channel Verification, Stripping Some Creators of Verified Status

    YouTube is making it harder for channels to receive a verification badge indicating their authenticity — and the program’s new requirements mean that some channels won’t be eligible for verification. Like other internet platforms, YouTube indicates to viewers that specific channels are officially run by the creator, artist, celebrity or company they represent with an [...]

  • BuzzFeed - Katie Sitter

    BuzzFeed Taps Activision Blizzard's Katie Sitter as Head of HR (EXCLUSIVE)

    BuzzFeed hired Katie Sitter, most recently an HR exec at Activision Blizzard, as senior VP of people. Sitter, who starts at the company Sept. 30, will lead the BuzzFeed HR organization and oversee strategic initiatives related to organizational planning, talent acquisition, learning and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, labor relations, and diversity, equity, and [...]

  • Kano

    Kano Tipped to Launch ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Frozen’ Coding Kits

    Educational consumer electronics startup Kano is getting ready to release “Star Wars” and “Frozen” coding kits, according to regulatory filings. Recent FCC filings made by the company reveal plans to release a product called “The Force Coding Kit” as well as one called “The Disney Frozen Coding Kit.” Kano representatives didn’t respond to multiple requests [...]

  • Apple Arcade

    Apple Officially Launches Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

    Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content