World Cup News Delivered by Artificial Intelligence? This German Sports Channel is Using AI to Inform Viewers
Following decades of steady innovation in nearly all aspects of news broadcasting from sound and video to data transmission, studios and even anchors themselves are now being assisted by technology. Novel solutions like Hour One’s AI takes aim at arguably the hardest element to scale: The human element.
No lights, no cameras, no studio, and no people. This configuration for creating videos might sound impossible, but the AI-powered Reals app was developed by Hour One for this exact purpose: Users select a template, insert some text, and select a character and voice. Minutes later, a photorealistic human avatar narrates the assigned script perfectly on their screen — all in an immersive three-dimensional studio environment created entirely from code.
Artificial intelligence is only now maturing to the point of adoption by established media channels. Since sports and weather news are largely comprised of changing scores, names, and places, they are the first categories to deploy the emergent technology. The ongoing FIFA World Cup games provide an excellent use case: They are played several times throughout the day, and so require tournament updates to be released for a thirsty audience at a high pace.
Top German sports channel Ran.de, part of ProSieben, Germany’s second largest broadcaster, is already producing these sports news updates with the Reals editing platform. And it’s easier than you’d think: After selecting a 3D “Studio” from the template library, the channel’s staff upload the latest game stats and opinions into the editor, — and minutes later, their custom human anchor presents the latest scores and updates with viewers in their native language.
“Venturing beyond broadcast into online channels requires a higher upload frequency, and so media companies’ demand for premium video is huge” says NetPoint Media Director of Business Development Malte Krotki. “Hour One’s AI technology has helped some of Germany’s largest media companies, including ProSieben`s sports channel Ran, to deliver a new Sports News product, at the required speed and scale.”
According to Head of Strategy Natalie Monbiot, the goal of Hour One’s AI tools is not to replace human presenters entirely, but to provide scalability and the ability to produce media quickly without waiting for every production member to get involved: “We want to open up opportunities for companies that currently rely on text, or lack the resources for expensive video productions” says Monbiot.
The result will mean the democratization of “studio access”, wherein high-quality production becomes accessible to everyone interested enough. Up until yesterday, there has been a visible distinction between polished in-studio productions with smooth camera movements and proper stage lighting, and amateur video. Any business wanting to publish high-end videos had to prepare lots of time and money. Hour One’s tools would make it possible for anyone with an idea and a computer to deploy a fully-fledged news show.
As for legacy channels, the potential advantages will be difficult to ignore. The scalability afforded by AI alone is unprecedented; creating multiple versions of the same video with different endings, for example, is now a matter of several mouse clicks instead of a production headache. New audiences can be reached quickly too, since new edits to the video in Russian or Spanish, or 60 other languages for that matter, are easier than ever to complete before the deadline.