AI is transforming the OTT Industry

The role of Artificial Intelligence within the OTT industry and the revolutionary trends it’s bringing to the table.




The global pandemic has affected different industries in different ways. The OTT industry, which has been on a steady incline since the early 2000’s, saw a huge spike in growth during lockdown and will undoubtedly keep growing in the years to come. With this growth comes more competition; with various companies sprouting their own OTT service it is becoming increasingly more challenging to stay ahead of the curve. One way for companies to quickly rise to the top is to adopt AI & ML into their business plans. In this article we will explore the different ways AI & ML can accelerate company growth and success. Content consumption patterns of end-users have matured in recent years and, more so than ever, quality of content and relevance of content are the leading factors in gaining more subscriptions and reducing churn rates.  Another contributing factor to a change in consumer behavior and industry movements come from the availability of network speeds across the globe. High speed internet is not only available in more areas but is also coming at cheaper rates enabling companies to stretch their user base to different countries and continents. Network availability has also given rise to more content creators which leads to more competition in the market and results in many OTT platforms ultimately shutting down because of the fierce competition.  OTT platforms are so much more than just Apps that end-users experience. It’s usually a complex integration of multiple services such as; content management systems, customer support systems, analytics tools, subscription management systems, video transcoding, delivery services, ad networks and marketing automation. All these services can be directly enhanced by AI.    


Hyper-Personal Content Recommendations

This is the most popular contribution of AI to the OTT industry. The ability to curate and recommend relevant content to each user based on their preferences and watch history is key in driving more content consumption. Based on the usage pattern and history of each user, OTT platforms can tune their recommendation engine to help suggest the right content to each specific user, using either content poster rails, push notifications or email hooks.    
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Automating metadata enrichment based on video content analysis

AI and ML technology has transformed content operations in recent years. Content operators can now automate metadata enrichment using AI & ML technologies. The technology scans a piece of content frame by frame searching for particular triggers that can help enrich metadata, such as; the emotional state of the characters, the nature of their actions and the celebrities within the video. It then feeds back all this information to enrich the metadata automatically thus saving huge amounts of time for content operators and businesses as a whole. This wealth of well-arranged metadata can be leveraged in a number of critical OTT workflows, such as content discovery, accelerating editorial operations, and post-processing.  It can also aid in the automated generation of video summaries/highlights for sports events and trailers for Movies or Series by stitching together relevant or high impactful scenes in the video.      

Automating content compliance, moderation and quality control

Another huge benefit for incorporating AI into your business is automating content compliance, moderation and quality control. AI can ensure each frame is checked for compliance automatically which in turn reduces the workload of the content operations team and ensures efficiency of the moderation process.  AI can keep in check various technical content parameters, such as; age-sensitive content restrictions, privacy violations and legislations/censoring rules. It then applies moderation or flags the videos instantly, even on live streams, thus helping to protect the OTT brand from violating any rules and the viewers from watching inappropriate content.      

Intelligent Ad Insertions

AI engines can identify the most appropriate position for ad insertions. Based on deep content analysis the engine can match a specific Ad based on the content, giving Advertisers the ability to target specific users with maximum effect. By offering this as an option for your OTT service you are not only giving your users more relevant Ads, but also, you create an attractive OTT service for companies looking to advertise on streaming platforms.    
Image credit: Deeptomcruise 

Generating Image Thumbnails or Synthetic Videos 

Generative networks is a cutting edge AI Technology which is still being actively researched and developed on but the nature of this technology is something to watch out for in the coming years and brings exciting solutions to the OTT industry. Generative network refers to programs that make it possible for machines to use things like text, audio files and images to create content. You may have already seen examples of this online with ‘Deepfakes’.  Deepfakes’ leverage powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive, begging the question of what this means for the future of copyright and privacy laws. A social media blogger has gained over 100K followers by recreating deepfake videos of Tom Cruise and the results are very accurate.  Another use for generative networks is the creation of hero images and thumbnail artwork. AI can identify the most appropriate frame, from a piece of content, take a snapshot and then overlay the image with title text to create an attractive poster. Not just an attractive poster but a poster that attracts that particular user. This system aids in the hyper personalization of content discovery for users by presenting them with different personalized thumbnail artwork based on their personal preferences. In fact, Netflix has already started to explore the presentation of different thumbnails in different styles to increase click through rates. See an example below.     Artificial video generation or Synthetic videos is another output of Generative networks which will make it possible to create new videos using real characters identified from recorded footage. This could be the future of OTT platforms looking to create content cost effectively with AI and artificially generated characters, based on a script as an input.  Even the script could be automatically generated by AI after analyzing and identifying large amounts of content which have succeeded in attracting large audiences.  


OTT platforms can gather large amounts of data insights from user history and content analysis. If that data is then put to use in the right way, with the aid of AI and ML, content providers can ensure they stay ahead of their competition and solve their profitability issues by giving users a richer and more engaging experience. More so than other new developments AI and ML are under close watch by governments to ensure that privacy, security and data laws are continuously met. With new developments such as synthetic videos becoming more available to the general public it’s clear that laws and regulations will change in the new future about when and where it’s appropriate to use AI or ML. That being said, it’s safe to say that with the development of AI, the future is now. With tons of research being plugged into it, and improvements to its nature being made daily, we can predict that it will turn from being a luxury asset to an essential part of OTT services. At DIAGNAL, we understand the importance of AI and its potential; we are constantly looking to automate with AI, with tested and proven AI integrations that enable OTT services to provide relevant and personalized content recommendations to their end users. We can also accelerate their content metadata enrichment workflows saving vast amounts of time for content operators. Learn more about how AI can affect your business by speaking to one of our specialists today.

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