08 December 2022 |

AI’s impact on the media industry: lowering the cost of production

By Adam Ryan

AI this. AI that. It’s the future. It’s everything! Meh. 

AI is amazing and will change so much of the world. But too many folks are over-hyping the real aspect of AI: lowering the cost of production.

If we look at the evolution of technology and how it impacts media, there is one consistent factor: it lowers the cost of production. 

Newspapers to newsletters, Linear TV to YouTube, 30-second commercials to TikToks, and on and on. 

The cost of production is typically decreased in two ways: speed of creation or ease of distribution. 

The speed of creation is simple. For example, TikTok building editing tools within the app reduced the cost to create a minute long video. 

Ease of distribution: Twitch enabled faster distribution of peer-to-peer video gaming. You used to have to go to a game store to do this (shout out to any nerd like me who would do this). You had to physically go somewhere to watch video games. Twitch created so much easier distribution that, effectively, it reduced the cost of production because distribution = monetization. 

What technology has never done a great job of? Increasing the quality of human-based work. Sure, it may have distributed it more or made it slightly easier to do, but it hasn’t truly increased the quality. If anything, it’s overloaded us with so much crap content that it’s hard to find the good stuff.  

AI will make fact collecting faster and easier to write – but it won’t replace human experiences and unique opinions. What does that mean for the industry?

If I was an investor, I’d be putting a ton of money into media that experience and human involvement bring a product to life. Things such as B2B thought leadership, Investigative reporting, and Comedy all come to mind.

What media will get crushed? Curation. And this shouldn’t come as a big surprise. 

When companies like The Hustle got launched, we never did our own journalism work. We simply took the work of others and wrote it in a shorter and slightly more accessible way. AI could crush business models that aren’t creating original thoughts that humans enhance the product. 

What do you think about AI? Any good or bad use cases yet? Reply back to this email and let me know.