The future of content distribution

April 4, 2023
The future of content distribution

When considering the future of content distribution, it’s important to recognize the seismic shifts that occurred in the media and entertainment space since 2020. Over the past few years, we have seen a huge trending movement towards being able to work in the cloud. With the pressures of the pandemic and the move towards to remote work and dispersed workplaces, we have seen an increased demand for workers to continue to collaborate quickly and efficiently.

What is the future of content distribution?

A number of factors will shape the future of film and television content distribution. These factors include the rise of free ad-supported television (FAST) channels, the increasing popularity of artificial intelligence (AI), and the growing demand for new technologies across cloud architecture.

FAST on the rise: what is free ad-supported television?

Free ad-supported television (FAST) channels represent a type of streaming service that offers free content with commercials. They have been growing in popularity in recent years, as they offer a convenient and affordable way to watch TV without having to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite service.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the rise of FAST channels. First, the cost of traditional cable and satellite TV has been rising steadily in recent years. This has made it more difficult for consumers to afford these traditional services, leading many to look for alternatives. Also, the availability of high-speed internet has made it possible for people to stream TV content over the internet. This has made it easier for people to access FAST channels, as they can watch them on their computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices.

FAST channels have opened up numerous ways for content owners to leverage older content. Not to be underestimated, FAST channels are now reaching at a maturity point. They are asking for upfront deals similar to those of the older linear TV networks. Content owners who are able to adapt, package their content, and quickly deliver their titles will benefit. This includes finding additional profitable opportunities to fully monetize older libraries.

AI in the spotlight: what does artificial intelligence mean for media and entertainment?

With the introduction of tools like ChatGPT, Bard, Midjourney and more, it’s clear that 2023 is the year of AI. As such, artificial intelligence is already having a major impact on the media and entertainment industry. Its influence is only going to grow in the years to come. Organizations and individuals are leveraging AI to create new forms of content, to personalize content for individual viewers, and to automate tasks in production and distribution.

As of 2023, many experts argue we are still early in the AI curve. This means it remains to be seen what AI can and will do for the industry. Currently, AI appears to be a solid tool to assist humans, but it is not ready to replace individuals and their workflows. AI can spark creativity for writers’ rooms, increase productivity when adding subtitles and dubs, or aid with virtual product placements. It will also help teams to make significant improvements enhancing clip licensing and merchandising opportunities. Content owners can ensure that they are adding solid, rich metadata, making it searchable and thus more licensable as well.

We are in the test-and-learn phase of AI, meaning those who embrace the tools may soon see exponential advantages. We are already seeing the push for disruption of the linear steps of handing off content one by one to each stage of post-production and content distribution, and AI will help to reduce the friction between steps and smooth out the amount of time necessary to deliver titles to consumers.

Of course, it is critical to remember the ethical implications of rolling out widespread AI usage across content distribution workflows. AI could lead to job displacement in some areas. AI systems can be biased, which could lead to discrimination against certain groups of people. Additionally, the use of AI can raise privacy concerns, as AI systems collect and analyze data about individuals. It is thus incredibly important to be aware of ethical implications when considering using AI tools within media and entertainment.

Up in the clouds: what are the benefits and challenges of working in the cloud?

The recent push of most businesses to use more cloud-based technologies for content distribution has resulted in numerous benefits for the industry, but does not come without its own challenges. Some technological and financial challenges around moving workflows to the cloud can include latency and egress charges, as there are costs to running content on large scale networks. However, many key cloud-based partners have prioritized allowing content owners to load their content into the cloud and then do their work with tools in the cloud and have one source of truth in the cloud.

Most of the known benefits to working in the cloud include:

Cost savings: You can save money on hardware and software costs by using cloud-based services.
Scalability: You can easily scale your resources up or down as needed, without having to make a large upfront investment.
Mobility: You can access your data and applications from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.
Security: Cloud providers offer a high level of security, which can help to protect your data.

What will content distribution look like in 2028?

Content distribution is constantly evolving, and while it is difficult to say exactly what it will look like five years, it is likely that we will see content distributed in more personalized and immersive ways. We are likely to see giant leaps forward with AI, localization and more.

Personalization: We will see increasingly personalized content for individual viewers. This will be done through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which will allow content providers to understand viewers’ preferences and deliver tailored content.

Immersion: Content will become more immersive, as viewers are able to interact with it in a more meaningful way. We will see a rise in the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), which will allow viewers to experience content as if they were actually there.

Convergence: Content will converge across different platforms and devices. This means that viewers will be able to watch content on their TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Collaboration: Content will be created and distributed more collaboratively. This means that viewers will be able to participate in the creation of content, and that media companies will be able to share content more easily between viewers.

These are just some of the trends that are likely to shape content distribution in the next few years. It will be interesting to see how these trends develop and how they impact the way that we consume content.

Looking to future-proof your business with secure, cloud-based content distribution tools? Learn more about Vision Media’s wide offerings of screener solutions.