How AI and 5G Will Impact the Media Industry in 2019

AI and 5G are bound to have a major impact on the media and ad industries in 2019. This Friday, Mike Bloxham, SVP, Global Media and Entertainment, Magid, will lead a panel at a luncheon of the Market Research Council looking at the two technologies and what’s ahead.  His panel will include Larry Allen, VP Ad Innovation & Programmatic, Turner; Ken Burns, SVP, Managing Director, Horizon Media WHY Team; and Carol Sue Haney, Head Research and Data Scientist, Qualtrics.

Bloxham offered Cynopsis his views on how AI and 5G will affect marketing strategies in 2019.

Although AI and 5G are at different – yet early – stages of development, both will have their impact on marketing and media in the coming year.

William Gibson said that “the future is here, it’s just not widely distributed yet.” That applies pretty well to AI and Machine Learning. It’s applied to differing degrees and in different ways across different industries. It also tends to be applied in in respect to functions within enterprises rather than on an enterprise-wide basis. One thing I think we’ll see in the coming year is the increased development of AI-based services and functions across more industries but also an acceleration in the attempts to reap the rewards of a more integrated approach. In some ways we’ll move more noticeably away from projects and experiments to strategy and process. This isn’t going to happen overnight – or even before the end of the year. It’s a gradual and ongoing process. But our relentless pursuit of greater efficiencies in the face of emerging challenges in consumer behavior, audience fragmentation keeps us constantly refining our approaches. Five years from now we’ll be looking back on our current efforts and see them in the same light as we look at fax machines now. But that’s inevitable and it’s the ultimate sign of progress.

5G is obviously at a much earlier stage of development as it’s only just now starting to be rolled out – and the Gibson quote applies equally well here.

The potential impact of 5G is profound. Without the amount, speed and reliability of connectivity that 5G will deliver, innovations such driverless cars, the Internet of Things and fully immersive live streaming of sports and events will be severely hindered – or they won’t happen at all.

Those kinds of innovations all depend on ubiquitous connectivity at higher rates than can be delivered now and each provides opportunities for marketers and media owners alike. When cars are driverless, in-car media will rapidly evolve and provide opportunities to deliver marketing messages that are contextually relevant. GPS data and AI will define patterns of behavior that will enable relevant ads to be served when people are on their way to do their weekly grocery shopping, going home from work etc. 

2019 is the year when marketers and media owners will have the opportunity to start experimenting and learn what 5G can mean for them when it is still safe to fail. The imperative will be to establish the basis upon which 5G can not only drive efficiencies but also facilitate different and new opportunities to reach consumers at key moments of relevance in new contexts. When rich content experiences can be facilitated just about everywhere, what does that really mean for marketing, for existing media and who is going to be best positioned to take advantage? The marketers that sit it out and wait will be like those who waited too long before engaging with the web – many of whom have never fully recovered from that decision.

The luncheon will take place at noon at The Yale Club in New York City on Friday, December 14th.  

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at

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