×
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.

More Digital

  • Vaccination

    YouTube Yanks Ads From Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Channels

    YouTube, under fire for facilitating the spread of conspiracy theories and other misinformation, said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we [...]

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content