The way we consume content is changing. The younger generation is increasingly tuning into video, devouring it at lightning speeds - despite the most recent report from the Reuters Digital News Report 2022 revealing that 71 per cent of UK news consumers still prefer text over video. What does this mean for content creators and newsrooms, and how can they cater to both sides?
It simply does not make sense to use a piece of content just once anymore. If a journalist spends days writing an article, why not give it a second life in the form of a video? We have seen newsrooms deploying huge efforts to turn text into video to reach more people. With video, they can target the new generation of consumers and offer a fresh way to consume their news pieces.
The landscape of AI video today
Whilst studying AI at the Technical University of Denmark, and at the University of Hong Kong, my classmates and I gained expert insight into AI content creation. With state-of-the-art technology, the ability to develop fake images and videos that are almost indistinguishable from real ones became effortless. But this synthetic media, as it is also known, could cause a problem.
It was around this time that AI videos became popular. It is the reason we created Defudger. We wanted to design something that would verify whether a video was real or not. While working with media organisations like Axel Springer and Spiegel, we recognised the struggle to create videos quickly and efficiently.
We tried to commercialise Defudger but soon realised nobody was willing to pay for it. We thought that perhaps instead of identifying fakes, we could use AI technology to offer an effortless video creation solution. And so, Colossyan was born: a video creation studio using AI technology and real actors. Simply paste your text into a script box, select an actor, and voilà, you have a video. What used to take five days of studio recording now can be done in 30 minutes at minimal cost. Try it out for free here.
If you think back even 20 years, producing a movie cost millions of dollars, but now, studio effects, animations and illustrations are becoming less expensive. With Colossyan’s lifelike AI actors (fluent in over 60 languages) coming into play, we are able to reduce yet another cost.
Synthetic media for the newsroom and beyond
Newsrooms are not the only ones benefitting from this type of technology. The learning sector, and even governments like the state of New Mexico, are benefiting from AI technology to create tutorials without studio equipment.
But news reporting and consumption is a unique case. Until not long ago, traditional methods such as television, newspapers, and more recently, articles on web pages, were the norm. What newsrooms have not, perhaps, thought about is where else people's attention is.
The immense popularity of social media - especially in video format - is something news companies should be taking into account. What is the best way to reach this new video-loving audience? And how does one ensure there is no spreading of misinformation?
When used ethically, synthetic video has the potential to reduce workloads in video production and bring down costs. It also allows more time for creativity.
A winning example for Indian news channels
We have seen that the advances in synthetic media are especially valuable for news companies. Colossyan already had some wins with several news channels in India, including the Times of India.
Their idea was to transform and repurpose their articles into videos. India is extremely diverse. Across the whole country, there are hundreds of languages and dialects, with 22 official ones. They knew, obviously, that each anchor's time was expensive.
To save on costs for the anchors as well as on production, they asked us to digitise their anchors. Instead of spending hours in the studio, they were able to create videos from text and easily translate them to different languages for each of the different regions.
We have also had clients such as RTL and Upday from Germany taking advantage of AI video and synthetic media productions.
The future of AI in video creation is giving a leg up to those who want to create content. Replacing some of the manual processes and making video much cheaper and easier is just the beginning.
Personalisation is what is hot right now - people expect content to be tailored to them. This includes consuming content in their native language. If news companies do not adapt, there is a high chance their audience will turn elsewhere because that is where they feel they are being seen.
With the anticipated advances in video creation and technology, it is imperative that newsrooms and other companies adapt just as quickly. They should be investing in new tools and training their employees on new possibilities to avoid falling behind.
Dominik Mate Kovacs is co-founder and the chief product officer at Colossyan, a Danish AI text-to-video creator with free and premium tiers. Dominik is overseeing the business and product development of the startup. He has been running tech startups since 2018, meanwhile, he completed startup accelerators, in Denmark and Germany.
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