Who Will Lead the Creator Economy: AI Or Creators?

Gone is the era of big media; we are now entering the pinnacle of the content-creator economy. The current creator economy stands at around $104.2 billion in market value. It has successfully bypassed traditional gatekeepers and established the connection between creators and viewers, be they influencers, artists, gamers, and so on. Various businesses, large and small, now collaborate with creators and online influencers to enhance their brand image and visibility amongst fans. As a result, influencer marketing has grown tremendously last six years

But we’re just scratching the surface of the potential in the creator economy. As with other industries, AI will lead the creator economy into the next era, where creators will flourish.

AI is at the Helm of the Creator Economy

One might argue that innovators and creators are at the center of the creator economy, but I see creators as the face, while AI is the science behind the creator ecosystem.

Sure, the creativity and innovation involved in creating content is the responsibility of the content creator, consider things from a business standpoint for a moment: the content has to reach the right audience, and the platform here is the internet.

Content creators agree with this too. According to research, the biggest challenge for content creators is getting their content discovered by the right audience.

YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok are the most popular Short Video Format (SVF) content platforms today and host millions of content creators, providing success to both parties involved—businesses and creators. As of 2020, 22,000 YouTube creators have more than one million subscribers, a 65% growth increase from 2019.

This signifies the democratization of content creation and viewership and the fall of the big media over the years as the internet picked up the pace. The robustness of AI technology has made it possible for small and niche content creators to shine and make a living out of content creation. 12% of full-time content creators earn more than $50k/year, while 9% of niche content creators earn more than $100k/year.

Content creation and content recommendation are the equivalents of demand and supply, and content recommendation just so happens to be the foreground of AI. User interests, location, preferences, and hobbies are evaluated to fuel their content consumption through practical content recommendations from various creators.

As for creators, there is a basic formula here. There are unique creators for sure, but there are also creators that have a common audience with a common subject theme for content. The identification of this theme and content type is all thanks to AI, which helps content creators generate the finest ideas for their audience. It also provides multiple inputs, i.e., areas of improvement in current content types, considering the most viewed videos by the creator and similar creators.

As I mentioned, a content discovery gap is a massive challenge for content creators, and AI is the best bet to close this gap.

Creator Economy has redefined Social Commerce

You are on a social platform and find an excellent product. But when you click to buy it, you are redirected to another app/website, which breaks immersion. Most mobile shoppers will agree that an intrusive shopping experience is a major turnoff. But with social commerce, this is history. Customers can now not leave the social platform and purchase a product on the platform, introducing a seamless shopping experience that has now become the gold standard. According to Deloitte research, social commerce powered by the creator economy is set to grow to $2 trillion by 2026.

The reason for this is quite simple: buyers and non-buyers consume a lot of content on social media platforms, which is a significant reason for the growth of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The content creator economy only furthers such user behavior.

A majority of what was previously a retail experience has now been shifted to a social experience. Content creators on these platforms come in as brand influencers, driving marketing for brands and purchases, directing views, and leaving affiliate links to motivate followers. Content creators/influencers are then monetized by companies based on the purchases.

While customers benefit from a seamless shopping experience, companies can conduct transactions on a specific platform without drop-off rates while controlling the entire funnel the buyer goes through.

So, how has this worked so far?

The estimated CAGR growth from 2020 to 2025 shown above looks exceptional, and the 10-year prediction is easy to achieve with the right approach. The social commerce ecosystem diversifying rapidly due to accelerated technical advancements and millennials and Gen Z’s increased reliance on and adoption of social media. The companies need the right approach: leveraging content creators/influencers on the respective platforms suitable for their products/services to influence the audience and their buying behavior.

Brand Partnership-Influencer Marketing: Monetization in the Creator Economy

Platforms like YouTube have been functional for a long time, but the creator economy is fairly recent. One of the primary reasons for the drastic shift towards an online creator economy is social media. AOL, MySpace, and Facebook were initially platforms to connect and find new friends, but the social media explosion was a phenomenon that had more in store, especially for businesses.

The continued use of social media expanded its horizons and gradually resulted in new buyer-driven trends, where people turned to social media platforms for shopping. I remember a time when having a website was the smart ‘business’ thing one could do, but today a social media presence is mandatory if you wish to acquire new users for your business.

39% of customers used Facebook for online purchases, while 29% used Instagram.

And these platforms had their icons- the content creators and influencers with the audience. Brands selling online knew they got closer to their customer with these influencers; even better, there are potential buyers amongst the influencer audience.

With content creators, partnerships with brands aren’t subject to the typical norms. Creators are infusing innovation into promoting the brand’s offerings, and the audience feels a genuine connection towards their favorite content creator. This is where brands can use AI to leverage and reach the right audience using influencers, content, customer behavior, and critical buyer data.

Even most content creators majorly depend on brand collaborations for their income. It’s a win-win for both the brand and the content creator.

AI is at the core of the reward system for creators while improving brand visibility, influencing users toward the purchase, and improving the brand’s ROI. And just like that, we are ushering in a new era of the content creator economy with a democratized approach.

How Exactly Does AI Help Here?

For starters, content recommendation engines suggest creator content to the relevant target group, making the reach more effective, choosing quantity over quality. The audience gets recommended the content they want to consume and not just something that is popular despite being irrelevant to them.

Brands have great options here. They can choose creators apt for their offerings among the millions, leveraging AI, considering their target audience, consumer behavior, previous purchases, and social media footprint.

The content creator has its fair share of problems, but as with other industries, it is one with great potential. Not all creators are equally rewarded, and not all get the credit they deserve. Niche content creators see fair success, and the content consumption landscape is shifting from conventional quantity to new quality. It is a win for both creators and consumers, but with the application and leveraging of AI, the biggest victors will be businesses.

What Does Affine Bring to The Table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros. Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics, media, and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of numerous Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your online business!

The Rise of On-Demand Industry: A Case of AI Marvel

With a drastic shift in consumer behavior and day-to-day lifestyle (work from anywhere/work from home), the way people interact and purchase from businesses has evolved. One industry, in particular, has leveraged this to the fullest. On-demand services have seen unreal growth in recent times.

By 2025 the market demand of the on-demand app economy is set to hit $335 Billion.

The storefront barrier has been removed, and this has opened up massive opportunities for customers to get services at their place, be it ordering food, and groceries, watching a movie, or even booking therapists, home maintenance, and repair services. Businesses have tasted success too. Doordash, Grubhub, and UberEats make up 96% of the food delivery market in the USA!

All the on-demand services/apps have an underlying element powering them- the robust tech of AI, ML & Cloud.

In fact, these technologies are singlehandedly responsible for making the on-demand industry lucrative, offering ease of access and immense benefits to the customers at a convenient tap of their device screen.

Customer Service is the ace card for the On-demand industry.

With the explosion of the internet and social media, I’ve observed a paradigm in human behavior. Two things have significantly gained traction-

  1. Instant gratification
  2. Low attention span

The on-demand industry thrives on these behaviors. Grocery, food, and home services are availed within minutes of booking from the user. Customers love this phenomenon, and this is one of the major reasons the on-demand industry has blown up significantly.

But there is a last-mile gap that still needs to be perfected-Customer Service. Customer Service remains the last piece of the puzzle for on-demand businesses.

In my opinion, the most obvious solution is personalization. From a customer angle, the demand is quite simple. They want what they are looking for, and they want it fast. The customer isn’t ready to wait or compromise on any other front.

The business challenge

From the business side of things, meeting this demand is easier said than done. Personalization is the key to offering the best possible service and user experience. Businesses need to predict user demand and deliver accordingly and exactly what the customer wants.

  • Data is large and unorganized. Making sense of it is no easy task, and it’s easy to get lost in the translation
  • A large number of online users spread across demographics means customer service is challenging
  • Personalization isn’t as simple as using a complex tool. The marriage of the right data and the right tool with efficient targeting is the only way for effective reach

Businesses do believe that they provide superior customer service, while customers vehemently disagree.

To offer the best personalization experiences on-demand businesses need specific user data and the right tool to leverage it to reach out to the customers.

Location-based data, user interests, and preferences combined with historical purchase data act as the base ingredient that is a necessity to offer excellent customer service through hyper-personalization made possible with AI.

The solution

Marketing Campaign Personalization Engine is an Affine’s AI-powered solution that helps on-demand businesses personalize product/service offers and customer messaging most likely to get engagement from their users. Behavioral insights and personal data are combined with machine learning to produce the best possible personalization output to reach, engage and provide the best customer experience while optimizing promotional costs and efforts through smart automation.

High-value customers, loyalty, and repeat business

There are occasional customers, and then there are repeat, loyal customers. Customer acquisition is a crucial part of any business, and so is the case for On-demand businesses.

I’ve seen signup offers, 60% off for new customers, and many lucrative deals that are focused on bringing new customers. However, acquiring a new customer is up to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers.

While customer acquisition efforts must go and is a basic aspect of any on-demand business, customer retention is equally, if not more important, to boost revenue. 65% of an organization’s business is from existing customers!

They’ve already purchased from your business; it is just about retargeting and pushing them to do it again. But there’s an even better potential here for on-demand businesses. That is targeting high-value customers.

The challenge

  • All on-demand businesses have loyal customers as well as high-value customers, but many businesses have a tough time identifying them
  • The challenge is obtaining valuable customer data to identify these high-value customers
  • Many businesses, without rightly identifying high-value customers, end up targeting generically and spending quite on marketing budget while not making revenue to justify it

The solution

Affine’s Customer Loyalty Analytics solution helps the on-demand business ecosystem to extract more out of targeting and retargeting exercises.

The AI-driven solution analyzes vital user data like purchase history, purchased items, and the frequency of purchases/orders and creates a detailed customer profile. This way, it helps on-demand businesses segment valuable customers and even tiers of customers with exclusive benefits.

  • This makes targeting and retargeting an immensely efficient procedure, optimizing the promotional spend
  • A huge amount of data is given a structure that is actually usable for the businesses and adds value to their targeting efforts
  • By creating tiers for the customers, offers can be better personalized, and cross-selling will result in more spending per order from these customers, increasing business ROI

On-demand is not a bubble anymore; the future looks promising!

From food delivery to healthcare, the on-demand service industry isn’t a fluke by any means; it is set to grow exponentially. On-demand users spend up to $57.6 Billion a year, and the numbers will only go up with new players offering better services debuting in the market every day.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Pick any established service from the on-demand industry. There’s always room for improvement. By offering better customer experience, personalization offers, and an overall shopping experience, it can penetrate and sustain the lucrative on-demand industry. Even traditional industries will see a shift towards the on-demand economy in the future, so the potential is ripe!

But that’s the catch. You need the right tools for the job, and in this case, AI is the only tool that can provide a long-term growth scenario for any player in the on-demand industry. AI is the backbone of the on-demand industry and, paired with data, can work wonders in terms of delivering exceptional customer experience while streamlining and improving business productivity, boosting revenue in the long run.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics and media and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your On-demand Business!

AI in healthcare: What awaits the future of the industry?

AI is known to perform tasks faster than humans while being more efficient. The application of AI in healthcare is growing into a phenomenon to look forward to as it is making waves across the healthcare industry.

The use of AI in healthcare can help ease the lives of doctors, patients, and healthcare providers alike. These are quality-of-life additions to the healthcare industry and are highly capable of predicting trends using analytics and data, leading to medical research and finding innovation. Combined with patient data and predictive algorithms, it is now possible to identify cancer in its nascent stages and heart attacks beforehand.

Robotics with AI isleveraged for surgery owing to their superior precision and can even perform actions best suited for the medical scenario.

On the administrative front, intelligent healthcare solutions bring a lot of structure and efficiency to day-to-day operations for healthcare companies.

The global AI in healthcare will see a CAGR of 37.1% from 2022-2023!

So, it’s evident that AI in healthcare is brimming with potential. Here are some of the benefits of AI in healthcare:

  • Efficiency in clinical research, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Precision in advanced surgeries
  • Optimizing costs for healthcare organizations
  • Streamlining processes and administration for healthcare companies
  • Improving patient-doctor and patient-healthcare provider experiences

Contrary to popular opinion, using AI in healthcare will not replace humans but will make their lives easier. It will facilitate an optimal team effort scenario, streamlining the process and obtaining maximum efficiency, which is favorable for healthcare providers and patients.

Centralize Patient Information and Streamline Operations with AI in Healthcare

The accelerated shift towards the online ecosystem on all fronts is now a reality. It’s not just eCommerce businesses; even healthcare companies require an online presence nowadays to capitalize on patients. Healthcare providers use advanced medical devices, and with the current norm of connected technology, there is an inflow of an immense amount of data.

The Bigger Challenge?

While some organizations have solutions to manage data and generate patient information, the challenge lies in bringing structure to the data.

Healthcare organizations are left with a plethora of unstructured data, sometimes from multiple sources. Even top healthcare companies lack the proper means and solutions to manage data ranging from patient information and medical transcripts to medical records. Efficiently streamlining data from various information sources is a significant challengeandcannot be performed with relational databases.

The Universal Customer Data Platform is Affine’s AI solution for healthcare providers that combines multiple data sources and pools the information, creating a universal data lake.

Healthcare providers can leverage insights from this and create a universal patient profile that can be accessed worldwide. They can also personalize their efforts for customer reach and engagement more efficiently, owing to the centralized data ecosystem.

Ai In Healthcare to Optimize Costs And Increase Revenue

Healthcare prices stem from various factors. The United States is notorious for its ridiculously high healthcare costs, which spells a significant setback in terms of revenues for healthcare providers. The USA spent a whopping $4,124 Billion on healthcare in 2020! Modern-day inflation has made everything high-priced and expensive healthcare is a deterrent to many patients who ideally should take regular tests and visit practitioners. In the long run, this is an unsustainable model for healthcare companies.

Healthcare providers can create packages and plans that patients can subscribe to, ensuring business while providing value to patients both service and cost-wise for a sustainable operating model in the long run.

The Intelligent Pricing Solution is another Affine solution for healthcare providers that creates a uniform pricing model for patients. This smart solution only recommends required tests and procedures thanks to the patient information, thus making it possible for the companies to offer great prices while providing quality healthcare service.This is vital in developing a sustainable patient relationship while improving engagement and helps increase the ROI in the long run.

Use Of AI In Healthcare Is Essential for A Sustainable Future

The above solutions are just a glimpse of what AI is capable of for healthcare providers. According to this report, ML in the healthcare industry is estimated to generate a global value of over $100 Billion. In the future, we are looking at AI-powered predictive healthcare, where anomalies in human health and chronic diseases are identified with historical patient information, and preventive measures can be taken in advance to save lives.

People are embracing travel post the pandemic, and organizations are encouraging a work-from-anywhere culture. Healthcare needs a connected tech approach, and providers must opt for centralized AI solutions that can provide patient information oncommand. Not only does this make for an efficient, but it also improves the patient experience.

For healthcare providers, AI and ML-based solutions help engage and motivate patients, improve their lives, assist them in their day-to-day activities, and handle the inflow of customers smoothly.

This may sound quite simple, but we all witnessed what happened when COVID-19 hit the USA, and the healthcare system got choked handling the sheer number of patients. Despite having one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world, the country was brought to its knees during the pandemic. When I mentioned earlier that AI assists humans and does not take over their jobs, I couldn’t find a better example than the healthcare industry. Healthcare employees are among most overworked, burnt out, and underrated.

AI in healthcare can aid organizations, patients, and healthcare employees at capacity and their absolute limit, helping them bypass various tasks.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like BSN Medical, Optum, AIG, New York Life, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics and media and entertainment to travel and tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your healthcare business!

E-Commerce, AI & the game of customer experience

Exceptional customer experience through personalization is the elixir of online shopping. 95% of companies increased their ROI by 3X with personalization efforts. There is always the debate about privacy and handling of data, but the younger next-generation of shoppers are open to it, and the future is set to see data-backed hyper-personalization across multiple touch points in E-Commerce platforms, in my opinion.

The challenge for E-Commerce businesses with personalization is multifold. Customers seek a device-agnostic experience in online shopping, so a uniform shopping experience is a basic need. On top of that, there is a plethora of data inflow, which makes for great potential but only if it is leveraged aptly by E-Commerce businesses. With the prowess of AI, the possibilities are many and colorful for E-Commerce businesses.

There is an immediate need for a centralized solution, considering the omnichannel nature of shopping amongst online customers. With data inflow from various sources, the alternative is just a large amount of unstructured pile of data that does not provide value for the business.

This is where AI will rewrite the rules and set the foundation for a new type of unparalleled customer experience in E-Commerce.

Data & AI-2 sides of the personalization coin for E-Commerce

Personal opinion -I’m willing to share data for a no-nonsense experience on the internet. Eventually, with connected tech and synced accounts becoming a norm by the day, online shoppers will opt for the same, considering the benefits. In my opinion, we’re too co-dependent on the internet for our day-to-day activities and sharing data for a better shopping experience is a valid tradeoff.

3d product previews & virtual try-on are the tips of the iceberg of what AI has in store to revolutionize the customer experience and write the future for E-Commerce companies.

AI in movies is mostly dystopian, about rogue software taking over the world, but in the real world, there is a drastic contrast to the applications and potentials of AI in day-to-day use cases. AI isn’t anymore a niche tech reserved for a few organizations.The infusion of technology in E-Commerce has made life easier for people, and the data shows. Just take a look at the worldwide sales, the growth is unprecedented and projected to spike through the roof in the coming years.

So, naturally, as someone working in close quarters with AI experts and E-Commerce veterans, I couldn’t help but speculate about the future of the marriage between the two.

Next level personalization for exceptional user experience

I remember the good old days of AOL messenger, Yahoo-Mail & My-Space. The internet at its cusp was pure, and people just hung out and wondered at the marvel of this infant tech and its dynamic capability.

With great power comes great responsibilities, and the internet opened the gateway to access various types of data; this, paired with the eventual shift towards online shopping, would work wonders for businesses. This was inevitable as the monetization of the internet was bound to happen. When anything is free, you’re the product.

I’m spoiled by the Apple ecosystem and can’t get enough of the seamless interaction and experience when I use any device, be it my laptop, mobile, or iPad. Imagine this for E-Commerce businesses on a gigantic scale.

For E-commerce companies, AI technologies can vastly improve product selection and overall user experience, which becomes a crucial part of the customer lifecycle.

Big data offers a plethora of opportunities for E-commerce personalization. Segmenting and customizing the experience is made possible by analyzing historical data. Even the messaging is personalized to the core, ensuring the relevancy factor is preserved.

Affine’s AI-powered Hyper Personalized Marketing Experience is one such solution that leverages customer behavior data, segmentation data, and cohort analysis at scale

What do customers gain from this?

As an avid online shopper, I appreciate the personalized shopping experience on an E-Commerce platform. Getting to see the products with utmost relevance is a positive shopping experience rather than being spammed with random recommendations; at least, that has been my experience so far.

When E-Commerce businesses leverage data properly, it creates an exceptional shopping and customer experience and results in return customers. We all have our favorite shopping websites, and personalization has played a crucial role in them.

What do E-Commerce businesses gain from this?

First things first: – a centralized workhorse robust personalization ecosystem,minimal data leak, and making sense of every customer move and converting it into a quality-of-life add-on with personalization, targeting, and segmentation.

Such a sophisticated solution makes it possible to identify the most feasible customers and target them with hyper-personalized efforts. The data is the only limitation to the possibilities here. Not only does this net the best possible customers for the business, but it optimizes the marketing efforts making the whole targeting process efficient. Ad budgets are kept in check while ensuring superior ad display and performance.

I’ve spent fat budgets on marketing only to receive lukewarm prospects. I’ve also spent conservatively with proper data-powered personalized marketing initiatives that have resulted in excellent conversions. Centralized AI solutions provide complete accountability for marketing spend, helping E-Commerce businesses measure every dollar spent per lead.

Automation is seamless with AI

Contrary to popular opinion, AI is not about taking over human jobs; it is more about making our lives easier. Customer support is one of the most tasking efforts in the E-Commerce business. I’ve had my fair share of endless calls with customer support with language and technical issues. I know you’ve all been a part of at least one such instance in your lifetime.

The potential for customer support automation via chatbots is a fast-tracking of the entire process and is already seen with giants like Amazon.

E-Commerce businesses, small or large, can leverage AI to automate mundane tasks and basically run your online store to an extent without human intervention and take care of the overall processes in their day-to-day activities.

Be it automating marketing efforts, support, customer engagement, or advertising, AI has the clout to not only handle but also excel in outperforming manual labor while casually being time and cost-efficient in the process. Automating the marketing process also brings up a 451% increase in qualified leads.

Combat fraud activities with AI’s security prowess

We’ve all known of someone who has fallen prey to online fraud and I know I do. With the convenience of seamless transactions, there is also the vulnerability of fraud in E-Commerce transactions. A research shows that online payment fraud could lead to a global merchant loss of up to $343 billion from 2023 to 2027.

Despite security measures, these instances call for drastic innovations in verification tools and authentication processes. AI and ML algorithms are the only effective option to combat online threats at such a higher scale in the count of millions of transactions, with predictive analytics to detect behavioral patterns and suspect behavior resulting in fraudulent transactions.

Brand loyalty, repeat business, and ROI

A gazillion data points are analyzed so that customers can get the best shopping experience and keep coming back for more. Sure, but E-Commerce businesses have the most to leverage from intelligent AI algorithms running through a plethora of data points. As I mentioned earlier, the possibilities are immense and lucrative.

I have my go-to sites for shopping, and I have valid reasons for that. So do customers, hence the need for AI in E-Commerce platforms. Personalization may make it sound like the customer is reaping all the benefits, but that’s the intention.

80 % of users saw an increase in lead generation, whereas 77% saw increased conversions when using automation.

The spend more get more is outdated, and efficiency is the need of the hour. Inefficient business operations cause a major dent in business revenues


The era of big data is here. Digital dominance is set to take over the world, and E-Commerce sites are more or less the new convenience stores in the digital age. I see a lot of competition; I see a lot of potential.

75% of businesses already use AI and are on the right track in the long run. Having run a startup myself, I understand the qualms about the cost of implementing AI. But the big picture justifies it and how.

AI in E-Commerce is not even a novelty anymore; it is a must-have. An online E-Commerce is a global marketplace, and the standards are already set. It’s excel or be expelled. A proper flow to guide your customers through their buying experience is the basic requirement to sustain and perform in the long run.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics and media and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your E-Commerce business!

What is Merge? Deciphering the future of the Crypto World

Cryptocurrency mining is extremely energy intensive and considered an environmental menace. Until recently, Ethereum was just another power-hungry cryptocurrency, but The Merge just fixed that.

With The Merge, the Ethereum blockchain has moved its consensus from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake and will burn significantly less ether (up to 99.95% less carbon footprint) compared to the previous proof-of-work method which used to burn billions of dollars’ worth of ether per year. I’m aboard the train of a greener earth and becoming more eco-friendly with sustainability while saving natural resources, which The Merge has helped further.

What is Merge?

The Merge is an upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain from a proof-of-work to a proof-of-stake system for authenticating new transactions. The new system replaces the old power-guzzling system.

With the Merge, the crypto industry sees an immediate slew of advantages:

  • Remains a decentralized platform
  • Extremely secure transactions
  • Up to 99% power efficiency compared to proof-of-work currencies like Bitcoin
  • Eliminates the need for miners and mining farms to authenticate transactions

Why is ‘The Merge’ a Marvel?

The open-sourced Ethereum is the host of DeFi protocols, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies valued at over a hundred billions dollars. All these digital assets were at stake, possibly being wiped out or irrevocably broken. The blockchain system verifies and processes new crypto transactions and migrating to a new type of system on the go is no simple feat by any means! It is akin to replacing an engine midflight without hiccups, but all it took for the merge to unfold was 15 minutes! I’ve been unwilling to participate in many Windows updates, which took more time, and I couldn’t use my device during the process!

It was around 2018 that I played around with cryptocurrency and even made a small profit. While I know many people who still gamble in the crypto market, I’ve since chosen to be a curious spectator of the volatile cryptocurrency market.  Many cryptocurrencies have debuted and seen their demise rapidly, but the two giants that have flourished so far are Bitcoin and Ethereum.

With The Merge, Ethereum is Now Environmental Friendly

It is a well-known fact that cryptocurrencies are power guzzlers.

I vividly remember the GPU hoarding craze recently and the large server farms used for Ethereum mining. The sheer power required to mine cryptocurrency is astounding and can power small-sized European countries!

This revolutionary feat made Ethereum 100x more efficient than before and that, which is nothing to scoff at. The long-term gains and the operational efficiency are remarkable and have left me awe-struck.

For all the environmental aficionados, The Merge is more of a festival thanks to the decrease in Ethereum’s footprint. However, that is more of a moral victory in anyone’s book

What Did This Mean for Investors and The Industry?

The Merge resulted in an interesting reaction from miners. I was excited about the energy efficiency and have been glued to crypto news, only to find that miners have moved on to greener pastures mining other currencies. The Merge has not created any substantial value for Ethereum as of now. Last I checked, Ethereum stood at a market capitalization of over $164 billion after the Merge. It used to hover over $200 billion.

The most significant advantage is that security will increase thanks to the proof-of-stake, which opens the option for varied granular incentives, unlike the proof-of-work consensus. This is because each validator’s stake is accessible.

I’m interested in seeing what types of rewards the stakeholders will earn. In the new consensus, validators are called stakeholders (people who stake a minimum of 32 Ethereum) in a secure network where trading is prohibited. In simple words, users earn Ethers by locking up their coins and validating transactions. It is impossible to predict the staking yields as more than 13.7 million ETH have been locked in the staking contract. stakeholders won’t be able to withdraw until a mid-2023 update. This should bring a little more structural stability and safety to Ethereum trading.

This is vital as the reputation of Cryptocurrencies in the past years has been tarnished thanks to hacks, scams, and billions of dollars lost due to new crypto companies shutting shop. I know a few people who bet big on Dogecoins, who thought it was the next Bitcoin but were left dejected.

The Merge Makes Ethereum More Secure Against Attacks

A significant upgrade I see is that the amount of Ethereum staked instead of resources spent defines network control. With the proof-of-work method, groups with large server farms could join forces to attack the network and sabotage others’ chances to update the ledger, opening options for higher rewards. With the new consensus, anyone trying to do that would be punished.

Although it seems like some people in the industry are a bit more apprehensive about the development. I was surprised by Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO’s take on the Merge. According to him, the drop in Ethereum transaction fees is still a long-term reality, as he doesn’t expect it to fall drastically overnight. That seems to be the popular opinion, but the story might change in the long run.

Ethereum’s biggest competitor, Bitcoin, has no plans for such a migration. It is still energy-intensive and continues to run on the proven proof-of-work consensus. In fact, it was Bitcoin that pioneered the consensus, and Ethereum just followed suit. But competitors are not Ethereum’s concern now when enemies are in their camp.

Some Ethereum miners against the new consensus are fighting to keep the proof-of-work system alive. Their future is anyone’s guess as it’s impossible to determine the future token value.

Personally, other than the environmental-friendly badge, I don’t see any short-term advantages of The Merge.

What’s next for crypto?

The heavy carbon footprint was the least of the issues with Crypto’s bad reputation.

In my opinion, one of the biggest threats to Crypto has been government regulations, thanks to the various crypto scams. An imminent ransomware threat, major scams and a lack of proper understanding of the technology means the government will always be apprehensive about regulating cryptocurrencies. The Security and Exchange Commission’s recent claim that all Ethereum transactions belong to them raises many questions. Teething troubles post- The Merge, or any such innovation, are not surprising, but the division in the crypto community and the after-effects remain to be seen in the long run.

With the eco-friendly badge, I’m hoping the government regulations become a little more lenient and have a more explicit stance on cryptocurrencies. A clearer legal picture will give cryptocurrencies the much-needed relief and attract more people to invest in them. If eco-friendly cryptocurrencies are favored more by the government, we may see others jump ship, but I don’t speculate that happening anytime soon.

With The Merge, we only have bragging rights about the eco-friendly aspect. However, that will possibly soften governments’ legal stance on cryptocurrencies worldwide.

Don’t get me wrong, the Merge, to me, is a technical feat and is the right step towards a greener earth, but the lack of profitability for stakeholders meant that this was bound to happen. As I mentioned earlier, legal troubles seem to accompany cryptocurrencies. With the Merge, Ethereum is now even more secure, but it seems to have attracted some controversial attention.

Gagan Mahajan heads the Entertainment, Tech & Media Practice at Affine. Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics and media and entertainment to travel & tourism, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your business!

Film Wars- Stepping into the New Age of Content Viewership

It was 2009 when Avatar came out, and as a college student, I was proud to witness the spectacle of a technically-sound 3D movie, a cinematic experience of a lifetime.


More than 12 years later, Avatar still holds the record for the highest-grossing cinema of all time, with a worldwide collection of $2.847 Billion!

Avatar was a movie best watched in theatres for that astute and wholesome cinematic experience, an experience impossible to mimic even with the latest home entertainment options.

A decade later, Marvel positioned itself next in line as the second highest worldwide grosser of all time with Avengers Endgame in 2019.

A lot has changed in a decade. Marvel built its base for about a decade with its standalone comic-book movies and two other Avengers movies before achieving this feat at the box office. It was smart enough to understand the pulse of the audience and the growing interest in comic book-themed movies and TV shows.

Marvel became a giant over the years as the viewer preferences started to change, and a growing interest in live-action movies based on comic sources began to gain traction.

Cinephiles vs. Comic Book Fans

I am an avid cinephile, taking every chance to watch classics like The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction, to name a few. So, when Martin Scorsese made an infamous statement comparing Marvel movies to amusement park rides, I could not help but agree with his view. A cookie-cutter template with abundant fan service and politically correct inclusive messaging is what phase 4 of Marvel looks like.


But personal opinion aside, the flavor of the season had changed, and comic book movies were minting money at the box office. This was an interesting phenomenon for someone in the Entertainment, Media, and Gaming industry. The gaming industry coined money and beat Hollywood revenue with Grand Theft Auto 5. During the pandemic, the gaming industry saw the highest footfalls among its peer industries. Unfortunately, that was not the case for theaters.

The Downfall of Theater Viewership


Theatrical revenue hit an all-time low after the shock of COVID, and the 2020 revenue numbers paint the picture perfectly.

But now that the dust has settled, the theater viewership has not. And one cannot blame the pandemic as the only reason anymore.

Consumer psychology has drastically changed post the COVID scenario, and according to a study, 55% of people preferred watching movies at home.

Theatrical vs. OTT Releases

Live-action movies that followed a pre-set template were safe for producers, worked well at the box office, and garnered enough business worldwide. Or at least, so I thought.

The pandemic came in like Thanos and, with a snap, reset the box office game.

OTTs had already become a vital part of everyone’s lives. I am subscribed to most OTTs, and it is a similar case amongst my peers and friends.

Due to the pandemic, most theaters were forced to shut down temporarily in 2020. With accruing interest in productions, studios had no other option but to release movies directly to OTTs. As people themselves could not freely wander out due to the lockdown norms, OTTs had become their go-to source of entertainment. During the lockdown, I caught up with Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, and many other TV shows and movies.

What did this do for the industry?

For one, the outdated exclusive window requirements saw a fall. Hollywood movies would only be released seven months after their theatrical release. This number was reduced to 45 days.

Studios are double dipping with theatrical and OTT releases, with the shorter window favoring OTT revenue a little more.

For theatrical releases, the first 38 days are crucial. But as I have stated earlier, Hollywood has struggled to provide a theatrical blockbuster for a long time outside of Marvel and DC.

High budgets, worldwide promotions, and a 50% split with exhibitors have added conundrums, whereas studios can have field-day OTT releases where they get to keep 80% of the revenue.

The Race to Beat Netflix

Netflix may have been the innovator in the streaming space, but as things stand now, I don’t see them having any particular edge over competitors compared to a decade ago.

Do not take my word for it; they are seeing a dip in subscribers and are even planning for a basic ad-included tier, which goes against what Netflix initially did. However, such is the current state of the saturated market amongst streaming platforms

Giants like Paramount, Disney, and HBO now have almost equal footing in the streaming space, and these players are veterans in the media and entertainment industry compared to Netflix. HBO Max will have an added company value of as much as $14 billion if it adds 11 million users at $144/year.

Jason Kilar, CEO of Warner Media, said the long-term value of HBO Max subscribers is worth more than the box office revenue of not just one of these movies but all of these movies!

While individual movies are devalued in their move to a streaming platform, the collection for the platform sees an increase in value, which is an ecosystem in itself and gives an incentive to the buyer to subscribe.

So, should Studios opt for streaming releases over Theaters?

As far as I see, there is no concrete answer here. No doubt theater releases have become tricky business-wise with so many parties involved, more rules, fewer shares, etc., but Top Gun Maverick just pulled off a sweet surprise with majestic global revenue, hitting a home run.

It is still doing great business, lasting over newer releases. Tom Cruise has consistently proved that he is a beast who can carry mega-blockbusters with ease, and the movie was a riot to watch in theatres and a treat after the extended lockdown. “Top Gun” is a fantastic movie without a superhero element, sans Tom Cruise!

Meanwhile, Marvel’s new phase is in a tricky spot. Thor: Love and Thunder got a lukewarm welcome, and She-Hulk, the TV show, looks dead on arrival. As I mentioned earlier, the message and preaching are getting old.

On the other hand, DC has canceled Batgirl and Supergirl projects worth over $70 million, which raises more questions. For one, the material may be questionable, which is what my research has led me to believe. Fans are not super impressed by political correctness and tend to pay attention to messages over the quality of content. People now are looking for pure entertainment in an overly politicized world.

The Right Time to Release Movies on OTT Post Theatrical Release

If a studio opts to prioritize OTT, it endures a significant financial squeeze in the short term to gain long-term financial security through scaled streaming.

This requires an astronomical investment and is a task in itself. Few services will survive the gauntlet. Those that do will be in a position to generate massive annual revenues.

Box office tickets and streaming revenues cannot be fairly compared as they are quite different.

Direct revenues from streaming may be lower, but they may be less volatile, replaced by more stable monthly subscriptions, like how boxed software suites have shifted to subscription services.

I think a portfolio-based approach is optimal for now and will bring balance on all fronts.

For value-based audiences and audiences for niche content, low production releases in large numbers are preferable. In such a scenario, immediate release to OTT is beneficial to studios, too, with more significant margins.

Warner Bros. Discovery has shifted the previous 45-day theatrical window put in place by former Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar, and now, new Warner Bros. films are no longer guaranteed to hit OTTs on that schedule.

The studio remains committed to the 45-day theatrical window but may extend the time between when a film is first released in theaters and when it is streaming on HBO Max.

My intuition tells me the release timing will vary based on the movie.

There is a dire need for studios to balance the revenue between Theaters and OTT platforms. With the audience split between Theater and OTT preferences, the right balance to capitalize on these potentials is the challenge of the hour.

The wave of change in viewer mentality has already hit, and the ecosystem of streaming platforms has made it even more challenging for studios. Still, double-dipping between theaters and Streaming platforms is possible if powered by an AI-powered data-backed solution.

Affine’s Movies/Shows cadence planning leverages box-office performance data with extensive reports and plans for a feasible and dynamic post-theatrical right-acting as a movie planning solution for OTT platforms. It proposes an ideal data-backed active window for OTT platforms to release a movie post-theatrical release and ensure maximum profits for the production house and significant benefits for SVOD/OTT platforms.

The payoff is that studios can double-dip their revenue while finding the ideal balance and catering to theatrical and streaming audiences.


I, for one, do not believe in a monopoly either on Streaming platforms or Theaters. Personal observations have led me to believe that the viewership behavior and content preferences have vastly changed over the years, but theaters and streaming can coexist peacefully.

Studios need to release their content backed by data to understand viewer preferences. Mega flicks with superior cinematic values are no brainer a theatrical release, but a conservatively produced movie might not share the same fate.

But this is just a general rule of thumb. Studios, with their multimillion-dollar projects, can’t just go based on this, a thoroughly researched strategy powered by AI catering to this viewer-driven market.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics to media and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your film production business!

Can AI bridge the gap between Travel Agents and Aggregators?

A holiday can be a life-changing experience for a person. You plan a vacation well beforehand, researching locations, booking tickets, and then getting hyped with excitement. The travel agent has assured a memorable travel experience and has taken care of your itinerary.

The drama unrolls on the day of the travel. Minor irregularities turn into regular occasions of discrepancies like the hotel getting overbooked and a 3-star hotel being offered as an alternative to the 5-star hotel promised at the time of booking. The classy suite turns into a standard hotel room; the all-you-can-eat buffet is anything but that.

A disabled traveler from California was quoted an astronomical price for the only available resort by her travel agent. Some travel agents are all about making high margins and do so even at the customer’s cost.

A UK-based traveler had a harrowing experience when there was a miscommunication between the travel agent and her bank, and even though she had already booked the tickets, she did not get seats on the flight. While she eventually got the refund, she had to book new flight tickets spending thousands of pounds, which she luckily carried at the time. She said she never wants to go through such a pathetic experience ever again.

Most of you have been recipients of such experiences playing spoilsport in your most awaited and well-planned vacation, or at least know of someone who has endured such an experience.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of full-time travel companies has fallen from 124000 in 2000 to 81700 as of 2020-21. It will decline a further 12%, according to the government projections.

The state of the Travel and Tourism Industry

While the pandemic caused an abrupt halt and threw a screwdriver into the travel and tourism industry, it was a rubber band effect. The pent-up frustration created a trend of revenge travel which has reinvigorated the travel and tourism industry, albeit with a few complications.

While things looked gloomy in 2020 when the pandemic hit, it seems like the industry is picking up pace.

A report suggests that flight bookings and hotel reservations are seeing an upwards surge post-pandemic, which is favorable for the industry.

While things look positive for the tourism industry, will the travel agents share the same fate?

The traditional travel agent was a gateway for tourists to travel worldwide. A travel agent takes care of bookings and itineraries and is the sole touch-point throughout the trip.

With the evolution of the internet, things started changing slowly but surely. It has revolutionized our lives and businesses alike. On the one hand, there is the time-consuming, cumbersome process of a travel agent’s methods. On the other hand, with the internet, all information is at people’s disposal; a simple Google search will throw out results and how!

From educating themselves about locations and researching the options to booking flight and hotel tickets, the internet offers the entire process at their fingertips, bridging the gap between standing as a robust alternative to a travel agent.

The probability of the extinction of travel agents has been touted for a while after Expedia entered the industry. The number of travel agents has seen a drastic downward spiral since 2000, but 43% of people still use a travel agent to book flights.


Convenience. For one, many tourists do not want the hassle of researching, planning, and booking tickets in advance to save money. They would rather have a professional agent take

care of these technicalities than do it themselves and would prefer to look forward to enjoying their vacation peacefully.

Additionally, travel agents can get the best package deals owing to their expertise and valuable contacts across the verticals within the tourism industry. Some travelers are not money-conscious but would prefer a better overall deal.

But the travel industry is seeing many online players like Booking Holdings, TripAdvisor, and Travelocity, among many others, which raises the question- how do online players amp up their game and take the battle to the travel agents?

Because 43% is not a number to scoff at, and with the advanced technology and data available today, the market is up for the taking.

With the availability of data and a device agnostic online digital profile, can AI help online travel aggregators level the playing field in this game?

AI in travel and tourism

AI is making strides across various industries; such is its prowess when combined with quality data. For the tourism industry, there are multiple parameters at play and many areas could see a potential benefit from AI, reaping benefits for both businesses and customers

The cumbersome process of search and research

Even with all the information available at their fingertips, many tourists prefer to go through a travel agent instead of an online travel aggregator because of the better overall deal.

This is an area where online aggregators have much to gain, and AI-based solutions are at home with problem statements like these.

But there is a silver lining for the online travel aggregators here. 82% of all travel bookings worldwide were done with no human interaction, meaning there is enough demand but also scope to improve the process to enhance the experience.

Search, and Recommendation System is an AI solution developed by Affine that uses a recommendation engine to leverage customer behavior specific to engagement metrics in the travel and tourism industry. It uses critical metrics like product Click Count, Click Through Rate, Cart Count, and Book Count of various Customer funnels.

For online travel aggregators, this is highly beneficial as the solution leverages historical data from multiple search options to understand customer intentions and auto-complete suggestions that are most likely to drive bookings.

For customers, by leveraging historical consumer data, the recommendations are always spot on, and the suggestions are always the need-based ideal services. This could be an ace card to compete with the best package deals offered by travel agents.

Online travel aggregators can use this solution to optimize their marketing budget and improve overall ROI by reducing search times, increasing their search-to-book ratio, and increasing booking revenue.

Volatile ticket prices lead to toxic experiences

Ticket and hotel booking prices are always volatile. With multiple uncontrollable aspects at play, travelers, and travel businesses both endure most of the finicky prices.

This is an area of demand where online aggregators have the highest probability of making the most with an intelligent price management solution. This opens the door for repeat business and an excellent customer experience while also organically taking care of the branding through word of mouth.

Flight tickets are at an all-time high and up by 25%, which, when paired with inflation, is leaving travelers across the world in shambles. Inflation is pushing people towards saving more, but they are still booking tickets and traveling, which means the online aggregators are at an advantage. But what if both aggregators and travelers could meet halfway?

Price Freeze Technology solution is an AI solution with a strong potential to tackle the pricing issue of tickets.

The solution works on a simple yet robust method that leverages the historical pricing trends of flight tickets from up to 7 years. The agile and accurate predictive analytical framework helps the traveler lock-in a fixed price for up to seven days by paying a small token fee.

Once locked in, even if the prices increase, the traveler has to pay the lock-in price. However, in case of a price decrease, the traveler will pay the lower amount for the ticket!

These are some of the AI solutions that can help online travel aggregators in the upcoming years. There are many other AI-based solutions to help drive customer engagement, bookings, ad revenue, and overall revenue.


As the travel industry sees a boom again, instances of airports getting overcrowded and hotels getting overbooked are a regular occurrence across the world.

The sudden post-pandemic travel rage has surprised the travel industry with a shock and awe effect. The online travel aggregators have changed the game, but there’s still room for improvement, both- for businesses and travelers.

As people have embraced the internet culture and are co-dependent on it for their day-to-day lives, these AI solutions will immensely benefit travel aggregators and provide travelers with the best customer experiences by leveraging data and personalizing vacations down to the last detail as per the customer’s requirements. At the end of the day, an excellent experience and a good deal can keep the customer happy!

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with space-defining logos like Expedia, HCOM, and Vrbo, to name a few. From travel andtourism to game analytics, & media, and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your Travel and Tourism business!

Can AI ease the messy chaos of Revenge Travel? 

Recently Heathrow Airport saw incidents of mass flight cancellations, delays, and baggage issues thanks to the resurrection of the zeal for traveling amongst people, owing to the bottleneck caused by global travel restrictions. Such is the effect of the revenge travel phenomenon.  

Tired of being locked down for over a year due to the pandemic, people started storming to nearby holiday destinations to break free from the humdrum activities and routine life.  

The travel industry was subject to unavoidable impact due to the Covid shutdown. According to Statista, the worldwide travel and tourism GDP saw a 50% freefall from 10% to 5% in 2020.  

With any unnatural imbalance, an adverse effect is imminent, and in this case, a new trend emerged – Revenge Travel.  

New work trends have paved the way for Revenge Travel

The exhaustion of staying inside their homes for a continued period led to this reactive global phenomenon. Once the cases started to decline and countries across the globe began easing travel restrictions, the vacation-starved populace rearing to make up for lost time and confinement started the trend of revenge traveling. 

While traveling was always an option for people, the revenge travel phenomenon saw its inception as animosity towards not having a choice of leaving their homes.  

As with contemporary trends, revenge travel saw an immense foothold, and people started booking airline tickets like there was no tomorrow. Staycation and workcation trends have emerged amongst organizations across the world, opening possibilities to travel more than usual. People even preferred domestic traveling, and domestic flight bookings beat international flight bookings in July 2021.

So, what exactly is the solution? Like other industries, can technology play an aiding role in easing these issues? Can it help accelerate the performance of the travel industry?

Travel and Tourism –can AI be beneficial? 

Messy travel experiences are an issue for customers, while businesses cannot afford to lose face. Everyone has been the recipient of a messy travel experience at least once in their lifetime. Being allocated a different room and tickets booked for the wrong date or time is something everyone has faced. The classic story of a travel agent messing up one of the most important adventures of people’s life is not something new.  

But travel aggregators have changed the landscape for travel and tourism businesses. AI has made the life of travelers a lot easier by being able to book without visiting travel agents.  

For businesses, AI offers to increase profitability in many ways. Pioneers in AI and data analytics have designed and developed solutions specific to the Travel & Tourism industry, benefiting both businesses and customers. Let us explore some AI-based Travel & Tourism solutions that can drive growth for the industry.  

Managing heavy demands & cancellations 

One of the major effects of the rise in revenge travel is the volatile demand. Flights, hotels, and tourist destinations were overwhelmed at once and the unpredictable nature of this demand brought instability and took the travel and tourism industry by surprise. 

The availability of big data is such a valuable potential to tackle this challenge for many of the players in the industry. Leveraging data to forecast demand based on several factors like customer behavior, price trends, and upcoming events can be the game-changer and help ease the unforeseen demand and excessive cancellation situation that plagues the industry.  

Demand & Cancellation Prediction & Management is an analytical OTA solution from Affine that does this along with predicting inclement weather and the resulting flight delays. By doing this, the solution also helps OTAs equip themselves to handle and assist customers, resolve queries, and manage rebooking in case of cancellations. 

This data powered analytical solution helps OTAs predict demand, reduce cancellations and manage refunds, while improving cash-flow for the business. Effectively managing cancellations and refunds also result in a smooth customer experience and increased brand loyalty. 

Automated query handling – the need of the hour for both OTAs and customers 

With the revenge travel chaos and ever rising flight and hotel bookings, customers have many qualms and queries. The sheer volume of queries paired with the skyrocketing number of customers makes this a herculean challenge for OTA players. 

While agents are necessary to solve certain queries and issues, manual efforts simply can’t hold up to this excessive number of requests and a sea of travelers. 

OTAs need to automate the initial levels of travel queries for a smoother process. Furthermore, chatbots are far superior to manual labor in terms of time management and efficiency in handling the sheer volume of customers.  

Affine’s Contextual AI – Chatbot & analyticsis an AI-based chatbot that handles major customer queries and manages them. Live agents are necessary to solve certain issues but this chatbot only transfers the customer to the live agent when it is absolutely necessary, thus easing the load on agents while efficiently handing most mundane queries thanks to its intelligent capabilities. 

For OTAs, this solution helps improve operational costs and reduce customer service costs by having fewer agents as the chatbot handlesthe majority of the traffic. It also helps understand customer interactions helping improve customer experience and overall customer satisfaction. 

These are just examples of a few solutions, and there are tailor-made solutions to improve almost every aspect of the travel & tourism industry like  

  • Conversion rate 
  • Acquisition cost 
  • Ad impressions and many more. 

 As people are getting more dependent on technology day by day, providing a smooth customer journey is essential in the long run for players in the travel industry. Leveraging the abundance of data and the excellence of AI and ML technology provides an airtight business practice headed towards sustainability & success. 


The post-pandemic era has brought some drastic changes to the lifestyle of people all over the world. The innate yearning for traveling has burst and traveling has become the de-stressing factor for the majority. Hybrid working models for offices and work from anywhere trends have opened the possibilities to travel with just a laptop and an internet connection. 

Revenge travel may be a one-time phenomenon, but it has awakened the deep desire to travel within the populace across the world.  

Revenge travel is just a setting stone for what is in store for the travel and tourism industry. The travel and tourism industry needs solutions that will help them operate efficiently and rake in higher margins. Booking agents are history and travel aggregators are competing across the industry, but AI-specific travel solutions will help travel and tourism businesses equip themselves with the future-ready foolproof tools required to sustain.  

What does Affine bring to the table?   

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with space-defining Logos like Expedia, HCOM and Vrbo to name a few. From travel & tourism to game analytics, & media and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.   

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your Travel and Tourism business!  

AI to fuel the Film industry’s future

The worldwide revenue for theatres fell from an all-time high of $41.7 billion in 2019 to a jaw-dropping $11.9 billion in 2020. The film industry took a deadly hit from the pandemic, and the following lockdown brought the industry to its knees and raised questions about its future.

Source: Statista

Ever since the onslaught of OTT platforms, the media and entertainment industry has shaken up, and a new form of revolution has set the foundation. The film industry is one such domain that has been the recipient of the adverse effects of this revolutionary transformation in the past decade.

While the big screen and an unparalleled cinematic viewing experience are still unchallenged to an extent, access to home entertainment and content on demand is a dent to the box office.

The Pandemic Saga

One of the biggest jolts for the film industry to date has been the pandemic, which brought things to a screeching halt and left the industry high and dry. Movie theatres had to shut down due to lockdown measures, and people confined to their homes took an interest in gaming and streaming shows on their couches as alternatives.

The result? Box office revenues plummeted to an all-time low!

The challenge lies in the future

The 2020 numbers look dreary, but as lifestyles return to normalcy again post-pandemic, the film industry still has a challenging task. Consumer behavior has changed. The average content consumer has seen value from OTT platforms that provide quality content on tap, and film as a product has deteriorated in value. Video on Demand offers immense value, and this is a critical film industry challenge that needs addressing.

If the five-year forecast from 2020 to 2025 is anything to go by, it is not going to be a smooth journey for the film industry. The OTT platforms have wreaked havoc with value entertainment at their tap and dethroned the film industry, aided by the unforeseen pandemic.

Source: Statista

But the charm of watching a movie on the big screen is unparalleled. The industry needs to revamp its practices in the process of film production. While a passion for the craft fuels the art of filmmaking, the technical and strategic processes stand to immensely benefit from AI practices explicitly designed for the film industry.  

Production and promotion- areas that need efficiency the most

A film’s success or failure has always been a gamble, but the production effort and cost are constant across most film titles. Solutions implemented right from the pre-production phase can result in substantial, measurable impacts.

Many studios spend an insane amount of funds on marketing and promoting their movies. With the current advertising landscape seeing a transformation, thanks to the latest content consumption habits, promotional budgets need to be scrutinized irrespective of the production scale.

Source: Statista

Save for the slump brought by the pandemic, the promotional budget for movies has seen an upward surge in the previous years and is back on track for 2021, which means higher spending and a bigger overall budget. While this amplifies the reach of the film across the globe, there are two main challenges here:

  1. Many small and medium-sized studios cannot splurge on sky-high budgets to promote their movies.
  2. Even big production houses sometimes go overboard with the promotions, and the movies earn less than expected.

Efficient promotions are the only way to go forward irrespective of the might of the production houses.

Commercial Forecasting System

Hollywood is no stranger to big-budget titles bombing at the box office while total underdogs clinch big victories. Sometimes there have been instances of a movie bombing locally but performing exceptionally well at international box offices like China.

This AI (Artificial Intelligence) based project management system from Affine helps production companies execute smart, efficient insight-filled decisions across the film’s production processes.

With this AI solution, production companies can predict the performance of their movies on local and international markets and across various demographics and populace at respective production stages of the film.

Production industries can stand to gain benefits as mentioned below by leveraging the Commercial Forecasting System:

  • Ascertain key foresight into film performances well in advance
  • Make necessary changes in the preliminary stages of production
  • Project realistic output numbers
  • Carry out efficient and data-driven marketing/promotional activities in tune with the film’s predicted performance across demographics and media types

Script Analysis

Time and time again, it has been proven that a good script is a foundation for a successful movie. With the diversity of content today, it is challenging to design a script that will assure superior performance at the box office.Script Analysis is an AI and ML (Machine Learning) solution that learns from the plethora of data fed into it and analyzes the storyline to determine its success in respective release regions, even at a pre-production phase. Historic film data helps the solution analyze similar script performances and predict the outcome with near-perfect accuracy over the micro level of demographics and age groups.

With the Script Analysis solution, production companies can leverage the benefits mentioned below:

  • Predict the near-accurate outcome of a script if it’s shot into a movie
  • Ascertain valuable insights that help make data-driven business decisions well before the production stage
  • Green-light scripts that are assured of performing well while making necessary changes to scripts that are not as optimal for business

Talent and Casting Analytics

Many great movies have had surprise castings that worked for them and changed fortunes for both – the filmmakers and the talent. But there have been cases of miscasts that have ruined good movies as well. Leaving casting to gut feeling is not feasible anymore and must be treated like any other business process.

Many production businesses have already adopted AI-based casting methods to choose the right talent optimally. Affine’s Talent and Casting Analytics leverages data to generate insights on the impact of key talent on a movie’s box office performance.

Production companies can indeed gain advantages from the Talent and Casting Analytics solution in the following ways:

  • Provides casting suggestions based on historical roles and in the actor’s portfolio
  • Use the cast as a variable to determine the film’s performance at the box office
  • Rank and simulate talent options based on their economic impact across the film industry like media type, genre, and key territories

AI-powered box office predictor system

The sheer number of filmmakers has grown over the years, and many are challenging each other at the box office, which may be a treat for the viewers, but as a business, production houses can end up with losses.

At the end of the day, the commercial success of a film is just as crucial, if not more than its critical acclaim. If all the above solutions are the factors of the success equation of a movie, then an AI-powered box office predictor system is the main act.

With this solution, production houses, independent filmmakers, and distributors can predict the movie’s box office performance up to 6 months in advance. The plethora of business opportunities this solution provides is immensely insightful and can help film businesses make valuable decisions.

With the Affine’s solution, you can leverage the following:

  • Predict film revenue at the box office well in advance with the highest accuracy rate
  • Decision makers take steps for ROI (Return on Investment) improvement
  • Forecast the promotional/marketing effort required per box office performance across regions, genres, and many other factors

The film industry will sustain AI behind the scenes

Films are not going anywhere, irrespective of the competitors. But the post-pandemic era comes with many changes due to multiple factors, ranging from content consumption behavior to global inflation.

People worldwide are in a price-sensitive phase, which brings the need for film production companies to improvise the game-plan. With the Film industry-specific AI practices, they stand to benefit from box office success and an efficient production, casting, and marketing process, contributing to the overall ROI.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics to media and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations; and is an expert in personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your film production business!

The Future of Pay-TV in the age of streaming

Technology is transformative in its revolution across our industries. In the early 2000s, top executives of Netflix met the top brass of Blockbuster, which was then a $6 billion behemoth in the entertainment industry. Netflix had a meager 300 subscribers and a loss running close to 8 figures. They were looking to be acquired by Blockbuster for a measly $50 million. Blockbuster execs felt the asking price was too high and rejected the deal.

The rest is history. Netflix emerged as the glorious gladiator in the streaming domain, leading the pack, innovating content consumption, and revolutionizing the home entertainment business like no other. According to Statista, as of 2022, Netflix was leading the OTT race with a whopping paying global subscriber count of over a 221million!

Netflix Subscribers over the years

Source: Statista

As with any industrial revolution, something had to feel the adverse effect of this global expansion, and in this case – cable TV.

How cable TV fell from grace

The cable TV industry was undisputed in the early to mid-2010s, with more than 105 million U.S. TV households as subscribers. They had set up shop and dominated the majority of homes as a reckonable home entertainment force.

Reaching a peak in 2012-13, cable networks saw an astronomical amount of ad commitments, and cable TV became a staple in every household. There was an exceptional revenue flow to the parent companies of network providers then, but the cable network is currently a shadow of its former self.

1.8 million Subscribers canceled their Pay-TV subscriptions in 2020. Such was the impact of streaming services and the revolution brought upon them. Simply put, streaming is the decisive force that has powered cord-cutting.

Streaming services provide users with absolute control over viewing options and content diversity, something Pay-TV has always lacked. Pay-TV also had the added deadweight of multiple immersion-breaking ads that drastically impacted viewer engagement even with good program content.

According to Statista, Pay-TV subscribers had fallen to 83 million users as of 2020; and a declining trend is forecasted for the future. But it isn’t a home run for the streaming services either; they are just arriving at the tip of the iceberg as new challenges emerge.

Two’s a company; three’s a crowd

Netflix has revolutionized the home entertainment industry. It has been the leader in streaming services despite the competition; and has instrumentally driven a behavioral change in people’s content consumption habits.

The pandemic was an unpredictable event that turned profitable for streaming services as people started banking on OTT platforms for content consumption, thanks to the worldwide lockdown. The additional factors of access to high-speed internet and a device-agnostic approach to content consumption only added to the boost for the accelerated growth.

Reasons why people still have a Cable TV subscription

Source: Statista

An ace card Pay-TV usually had was sports content. Rights to sports content fetched a fortune for these organizations, and the pandemic brought these events to a screeching halt, accelerating cord-cutting. Even though the pace has picked post-pandemic, sports is one of the biggest reasons Cable-TV subscriptions make sense for many people.

Netflix’s initial USP was its unique strategy for acquiring publishing rights for shows and movies. By paying more upfront, it was able to build a content-rich streaming library.

Players like Disney and HBO built their streaming platforms and have gotten back many of their titles from Netflix, landing a devastating blow. However, Netflix had foresight about this and had started producing original content with shows like BoJack Horseman, House of Cards, and Stranger Things doing wonders for the company.

But that wasn’t enough anymore.

On top of that, the players in the streaming market are leveling up their game, producing quality content to woo viewers. HBO Max and Apple TV have performed excellently, thanks to this strategy.

Currently, there is a considerable challenge for subscription services. Viewers are now at a crossroads as multiple streaming services own the rights to a plethora of content, and respective subscriptions are necessary to access the content.

Source: Bloomberg

The market is overcrowded, and everyone wants a piece of the streaming pie. Netflix has lost over $50 billion of its market cap, and its panicked investors resorted to selling their shares. On top of it, Netflix laid off many employees recently.

The combined impact of all these factors is so severe that Netflix plans to introduce a ‘basic’ account option with ads to attract more viewers and handle price-sensitive geographies. Amazon prime has already rolled out this model, and the other players may have to succumb to this trend not too far away in the future.

What’s the future for Pay-TV and streaming services?

The problem with Pay-TV isn’t just streaming services; it’s the business model. Not having the freedom of choice in terms of content and watching through many ads despite paying a monthly subscription fee were the factors for the downfall of Pay-TV. But all hope is not lost for the cable businesses.

The biggest weapon they always had was sports content. Other than that, players like Paramount, Comcast, and Viacom are already in the business of streaming, so it’s not exactly a battle to the throne. The truth is that viewer preferences and behavior have changed drastically over the years. Pay-TV needs to stand out and offer an incentive to attract users.

Pay-TV businesses can take a page out of the streaming model playbook and implement it for a taste of success. Players like Amazon are already running ads on streaming services, and Netflix plans to do it eventually with its basic account. So, running ads isn’t the issue here; the irrelevancy and bombardment of ads is, however, a critical issue. The solution – relevant, crisp ads placed in appropriate slots and personalized to suit the viewer.

Pay-TV businesses also need to stop bundling and let viewers build a package. In short, personalization is the key for both ads and content. Nobody wants to pay for a pre-built bundle of channels just to watch a couple of relevant shows, movies, and content while unnecessarily paying for content they don’t consume.

AI & ML are the elixirs for a sustainable future for Pay-TV

One of the biggest reasons for the success of streaming services was the drastic evolution of the internet and its infrastructure. Data thus became a vital bloodline for every business, and the personalization game was accessible to the streaming services thanks to their online business model.

Pay-TV always had to rely on viewership ratings and TRP from rating agencies, and there was always a time and logistical delay in obtaining data. Now that all the players have a hand in the streaming game, accessing data is not a pipe dream anymore, but wisely leveraging it is not a simple task either. Insights are only valuable when actionable output is obtainable from them.

Ads relevant to particular users, strategically placed within the content, can be a game-changer for businesses. Data analytics and intelligent algorithms are essential in performing real-time monitoring and decision-making..

The plethora of data from user profiles and viewership data powered by the right AI solution can turn fortunes around for Pay-TV to bounce back into the home entertainment business and sustain itself in the long run.

Pay-TV businesses are now assisting the streaming services by bundling several streaming options with the cable package and integrating the viewership experience across cable and streaming TV set-up boxes. With this, there isn’t a head-on clash but a prospect to co-exist and sustain for both.

For broadcast services, a marriage between Pay-TV and streaming services opens the door for valuable data that can be leveraged to offer exciting packages customized to user preferences while overcoming the cord-cutting challenge.

Can AI solutions benefit the home entertainment domain?

Pay-TV players not only need to have a quality content library but also the tools to deliver it to viewers. Relevancy is imperative, and content recommendation is the ace that wins the game. A solution called the Live TV Recommendation System provides recommendations for new programs using a content-based algorithm that finds similarities, overcoming the cold start problem. It also leverages watching habits to provide timeslot-appropriate TV recommendations to viewers.

Ad consumption has become a tricky affair. Gone are the days of long ads between programs and high-demand segments. Viewers don’t put up with ads as much as they used to. Optimal Ad Space Recommendation is a solution that considers viewer demography, preferences, and other crucial factors to analyze viewer behavior. This helps choose the best ad to display amongst your ad inventory for maximum ad engagement.

Many such solutions tailored for Pay-TV, Broadcast, and OTT platforms can accelerate their performances while efficiently achieving organizational goals. Affine has an arsenal of such solutions across multiple verticals and a track record of working with major clients across the industry.

What does Affine bring to the table?

Affine is a pioneer and a veteran in the data analytics industry and has worked with giants like Warner Bros Theatricals, Zee 5, Disney Studios, Sony, Epic, and many other marquee organizations. From game analytics to media and entertainment, Affine has been instrumental in the success stories of many Fortune 500 global organizations, and has mastered personalization science with its prowess in AI & ML.

Learn more about how Affine can revamp your media-entertainment business!


Statista, DetroitNews, Bloomberg, Forbes, Srtreamingmedia, CNBC, Broadbandtvnews

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Manas Agrawal

CEO & Co-Founder

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