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Disney and YouTube demonstrate how AI is already disrupting advertising

The news: At a TV advertising event hosted by AdAge, Disney and YouTube provided glimpses into how they think artificial intelligence will change marketing and creative experiences on TV and on internet platforms.

While some looks were more fleshed out than others, both companies painted AI as a tech that is already disrupting the industry—and is a crucial part of their strategies.

‘Rapid disruption’: That’s a subtitle that’s been appointed to many new tech waves in the past few years, but AI is already rapidly changing the way companies like Disney and YouTube are thinking about advertising.

  • In her presentation, Disney advertising chief Rita Ferro said the company’s next “12 months of innovation” will be focused on artificial intelligence.
  • In one example, Ferro highlighted shoppable marketing in streaming. Currently, customers can scan QR codes to buy products displayed in ads on screen. But Ferro said AI could instead scan visuals for products and offer ways to buy them directly from the streaming interface, removing the need for QR codes.
  • Several streaming services announced QR code-based shoppable marketing features at NewFronts just this month.

Our take: The early days of the ongoing AI boom looked a lot like the metaverse boom of the previous two years, with executives and techies promising world-changing outcomes from the fledgling tech. But now that the hype has died down, we’re getting glimpses into how the world’s leading companies are viewing the technology.

  • Those glimpses show that AI is no buzzword tech. Though it has a long way to go, the rapid pace of disruption, like Disney’s shoppable commerce example, shows that companies will continue on the warpath.