HITS Spring: ETC@USC Examines Modern Content Dilemmas

Trying to decide what project to make and what script to shelve has never been more crucial when it comes to the bottom lines of content companies today.

“Developers and distributors are asking themselves what projects should I develop, what’s going to resonate with my audience? Is this project for streaming or theatrical?” said Yves Bergquist, director of the AI and Neuroscience in Media Project at the Entertainment Technology Center at USC (ETC@USC), during his presentation “Navigating the New Norm of Box Office & Engagement” May 12 at the annual Hollywood Innovation and Transformation Summit (HITS) Spring event. “Who is my target, at the development stage this is important because you have a script or screenplay nobody has seen before. And how do I activate them, how do I get [people] excited to watch either in the theatrical window or on streaming or rent it?”

According to Bergquist, the answer lies to those questions can be found using artificial intelligence. Specifically the ETC@USC AI application Corto,a comprehensive knowledge engine that aims to help media and entertainment companies develop deep, “genomics”-type insights into how their content resonates with audiences.

The offering merges more than 400,000 pieces of content — from videos to ads to scripts — with metadata and natural language processing, audience data, pulled from several social media sites, and performance data from tracking services.

What results is a step-by-step explanation of how to maximize the return on your content investment, Bergquist said. For this certain brand, hiring this specific talent, dialing up this specific trait for his or her character, using these exact color schemes, with this type of music, will result in this much of a revenue increase, he shared using one example.

The system works by allowing a content owners to upload a script or video, with Corto then first doing a content analysis. Next comes comparisons: “What films, TV shows, books, ads, trailers, are the closest to the ones you’re trying to distribute?” Berquist said. Audience predictions then follow.

To view the full presentation, click here.

HITS Spring was presented by IBM Security with sponsorship by Genpact, Irdeto, Tata Consultancy Services, Convergent Risks, Equinix, MicroStrategy, Microsoft Azure, Richey May Technology Solutions, Tamr, Whip Media, Eluvio, 5th Kind, LucidLink, Salesforce, Signiant, Zendesk, EIDR, PacketFabric and the Trusted Partner Network.