Applied AI: An unseen revolution in local TV advertising
AI has been making headlines, with new think pieces and predictions churned out faster than we can absorb them. But beneath the loud and largely theoretical chatter, the real magic of AI can be discovered where it is being applied in ways that are less dramatic, but quietly and ingeniously pragmatic. One such example can be found in our own world: advertising and local media.
Let’s be clear: for all of the talk, AI hasn’t been embraced with open arms in a meaningful way across a good number of sectors. Highly regulated industries are wary of AI-based technology, for valid reasons. These fields require tackling questions of rigor, transparency and data security that most AI products are still perfecting. It’s a responsible and sensible approach – but one that will involve keeping AI and the potential it offers strictly within the realm of “theory” for now.
In contrast, the landscape of advertising – specifically television, cable, broadcast, CTV, radio, and print – is being quietly reshaped by AI’s increasingly discernible footprint as we speak. The most interesting thing about this transformation is that it’s not just about technology; it’s about people, local businesses, and communities.
Small companies (fewer than 500 employees) make up the vast majority of US businesses. These kinds of businesses are traditionally reliant on word-of-mouth as a centerpiece of their marketing. The high costs and logistical complexity involved in advertising on channels like television have, until recently, made them unattainable for these businesses. AI has quietly stepped in to rewrite this narrative – in a very significant way.
We’ve seen this firsthand at Waymark. We’re the company behind an AI platform that creates instant, personalized commercials for local businesses. Innovative media firms have intelligently adopted our technology to provide these small businesses with a remarkable opportunity to compete on the same stage as their larger counterparts.
Unlocking New Markets, Enhancing Viewer Engagement
Take the example of KOAM, a CBS affiliate in Kansas. KOAM uses Waymark’s AI to produce professional and affordable 30-second commercials for their small local clients. This swift, efficient process has not only impressed their partners, but also brought them tangible results without blowing up their marketing budgets.
It’s the same story with Gray Television, Spectrum Reach, Alpha Media, Beasley, and Morgan Murphy. Even outside of Waymark, the industry is seeing AI applied in interesting and creative ways. A Portland, OR radio station is deploying an AI host to supplement on-air work and give their human host more time and freedom to engage directly with the community. Vevo is using AI content tagging to empower a new, smarter approach to contextual advertising. All of these moves reflect AI’s active role in unlocking new markets, enhancing viewer engagement and fostering a stronger connection with local businesses.
Real Time, Positive Impact on Revenue and Productivity
This revolutionary transition from the abstract to the practical demonstrates the real power of AI. Instead of stalling, media companies that are able to embrace AI are witnessing real time, positive impacts on revenue and productivity. As they lean into AI, they’re not just streamlining processes; they’re also writing a more inclusive and exciting story for TV advertising.
Hayden Gilmer is vice president of revenue at Waymark, a company using creative AI to make professional video production easier for media companies and ad agencies of every size.