Media C-Suite Week No. 49, Issue No. 35

A Week in the Media C-Suite, Week No. 49, Issue No. 35

A Week in the Media C-Suite 

It’s Sunday, the 3rd of December, 2023.

On this date in 1992, the world’s first text message was sent using a PC and the Vodafone network.

This almost immediately pushed the bandwidth requirements for personal telecoms beyond the physical capabilities of copper wire networks and ushered in a rush toward higher capacity 2G and 3G cellular networks and investment into the global infrastructure for our modern information age.

That infrastructure has enabled internet access to inform, educate and entertain an ever-growing global population.

Time Flies

Fast forward thirty years and we now have some 5.6 billion people surfing the internet from their phones, homes and desks as consumer audiences. Each of us, around the world, have already seen the adverts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday fly swiftly passed as we formally enter the first full week of December and the countdown to 2024.

Advertisers and marketing agencies have been frantically studying data collected online for traction within key market demographics utilising the latest statistical analytics supported by artificial intelligence. And so they should. With nearly a trillion dollars in advertising spend expected to culminate in the biggest shopping season of the year, the global consumer economy has a lot at stake.

This may sound similar to every other year. But it’s really not.

For an understanding of where Media & Entertainment is as an industry, and why, see:

The use of AI in the economic analysis of advertising spend may seem rather academic. But what it publicly heralds is monumental. Generative AI may have garnered most of the attention, particularly within the Media & Entertainment industry. However, analysis and assessment of very large amounts of data from within a complex environment is where artificial intelligence can and will leverage serious change.

The key word for the day is intelligence.

Get Smart

Governments and multinational corporations make decisions based on actionable intelligence delivered by highly-trained and experienced analysts. Facts, of course, are important. But, as former CIA Director Michael Hayden once said, “if it’s a fact, it ain’t intelligence.” Intelligence, its seems, is an assessment; an informed opinion based on facts but also by circumstances to direct a decision-maker toward action.

The intelligence community employs millions of people around the world for that purpose. Their counterparts in marketing, journalism and investment management employ multiples more. The artificial production of intelligence, whether for security purposes, marketing or investing, is poised to turn these millions of analysts into mini-agencies in their own right. According to a leaked Google memo seen by the Media C-Suite, the pace of open-source AI development has now lowered the barrier to entry, “from the total output of a major research organization to one person, an evening, and a beefy laptop.”

Just Catching Up?

It is a race, really!

What It Means

The combination of generative AI with general AI is exactly what every Hollywood actor has been afraid of. 

Hollywood studios have made use of CGI to populate large crowds and battle scenes in tent-pole film and television productions. AI is essential in the generation of these CGI characters. But a distinctly digital performance remains both crude and expensive relative to a human performer in a live action sequence.

However, the ability to analyse massive marketing data and then create a “synthetic performer” to meet specific audience appetites within the advertising and social media environment is already happening.

Barcelona-based agency, The Clueless, has created a fully-synthetic performer that passed as human for months, and more are on the way.

Altana Lopez, a pink-haired model from Barcelona has been earning up to €10,000 a month. She has an Instagram following in the hundreds of thousands and receives weekly private messages from celebrities trying to arrange a date. She looks 25, but Altana’s age is much, much younger. She was conceived by Rubén Cruz, founder of the agency, only last summer and designed by AI to replace temperamental “influencers”. In effect, the synthetic performer reduces the risk of temper tantrums that interfere in the production of commercial content.

“We started analysing how we were working and realised that many projects were being put on hold or cancelled due to problems beyond our control. Often it was the fault of the influencer or model and not due to design issues,” Cruz told Euronews.

“We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing,” said Cruz.

For a deeper dive into where AI is at the moment, we recommend you read:

Looking Forward?      

It’s how we get ahead!

Counting the Votes

Tuesday is the big day as Hollywood’s actors under SAG-AFTRA’s banner complete the voting to ratify a deal struck with the Studios represented by AMPTP.

According to sources close to leadership in SAG-AFTRA, the vote is not a slam dunk. Though expected to pass, there are close to an even number of actors against it as for it. The key issue is the use of AI-generated “synthetic performers” in the production of commercial content distributed by AMPTP members.

The agreement that ended the historic Hollywood strike is for a term of two and half years. So, strategically, SAG-AFTRA may have simply given themselves a bit of time to prepare for the real battles to come. They may need it.

For a discussion on how Hollywood’s creatives could turn things around, see:

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