In a session at the IBC, Francesco Venturini, corporate vice president of worldwide media and communications industry at Microsoft, and Allan Broome, CEO of MediaKind, have discussed how technology and innovation are transforming the media landscape.
Venturini began by outlining Microsoft’s artificial intelligence service, Microsoft Copilot, highlighting the continued importance of human creativity and the central role of the cloud in enabling AI models.
“Copilot has been carefully positioned to put the human at the centre equation, with AI acting as a tool to amplify human ingenuity and not replace it,” said Venturini. “It also depends upon the scalability of Microsoft Azure’s infrastructure, as every one of the large language models includes between 60 to 70 billion parameters. That’s why we are going to deploy 120 data centres across the world in 2023 to support AI applications, which is one data centre every three days. About 65,000 companies have already deployed copilot into production already, which gives a sense of the scale of adoption we’re already seeing.”
Venturini then pointed to Microsoft’s work with the NBA and the MotoGP as examples of how AI is already making an impact on the media industry.
“At the MotoGP, the complexity of the operations is incredible,” he said. “They use artificial intelligence in two ways, the first of which is in measuring advertisers’ exposure. Their real time dashboard will measure how much each advertiser’s branding has been seen in shots in milliseconds, and if one brand is being underexposed, then the AI automatically redirects drones to shoot the same shot from a different angle. Then, they’re also using AI to identify bad camera shots so that they can throw them away and save on storage, which is important with the amount of data created by 50 to 60 different cameras.”
Allen Broome then joined Venturini on stage for a fireside chat, discussing MediaKind’s view of the state of the industry and its adoption of new technology, including AI.
“The biggest thing we’re seeing is the rapid pace of change right now,” said Broome. “Generative AI has reached an inflection point where speech recognition has surpassed the average human. You can now leverage AI to increase your customer reach by doing such as generating automatic audio tracks, close captioning or highlights. All of these things can be automated when you have your content in the cloud, which is the first step in opening up all of the innovation that’s happening in the industry.”
Broome identified some continuing hesitancy about the role of AI in certain sections of the media industry, contrasted with an eagerness in other areas.
“There’s both curiosity and resistance,” said Broome. “There’s more resistance where you’re looking at leveraging AI to create new content, though I think there’s a place for that in more formulaic, procedural shows. There’s a lot less resistance in areas like audio tracks, highlights and video compression. We’re using AI models to help optimise our compression algorithms to make sure that we are energy efficient as codecs get more complicated, while maintaining the best video quality.”
Venturini and Broome then discussed the relationship between Microsoft and MediaKind in enabling projects within the industry, with Broome describing the relationship as a “special one.”
“At MediaKind, what makes us different is our very passionate team of people who want to deliver the best quality of experience for customers and consumers,” said Broome. “What we’ve developed with Microsoft is the same sort of relationship. Large, complicated solutions are always going to have problems, but our two teams always come together and focus on solving the problem to create the best experience. For example, we have direct access to software developers that are building core services within Azure, which really shortens the amount of time it takes to solve problems. I think that’s what separates our partnership.”
Technology Record is at IBC 2023, covering the latest news from Microsoft and its partners. Find out more here.