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The End of Content Acquisition

Streamers will soon redirect their AI algorithms from content curation to content creation.

Netflix recently triggered outrage from striking Hollywood actors, writers, and supporters after posting a job call for an AI expert to join their Machine Learning Platform team as Product Manager, with total annual compensation of up to $900,000. (The link is here in case anyone wants to apply.)

Netflix currently rules Hollywood’s roost through its powerful recommendation algorithms that suggest new programs tailored to individual viewer preferences. However, there is a seismic shift on the horizon. The future of AI at Netflix and other streamers is not about refining these algorithms but about empowering viewers to create and watch their own bespoke content based on simple verbal prompts. This revolutionary approach may signal an end to the conventional model of content acquisition and consumption at the major studios and may ultimately signal an end to the major studios themselves.

Streaming platforms like Netflix have invested heavily in content acquisition, both licensing external productions and creating a multitude of original series and films. The streamers then employ complex algorithms to match users with suitable content based on factors like past viewing behavior and ratings. However, this model is inherently limited — reliant on a finite library of pre-existing content and a hope that viewers' diverse tastes will align with it.

The concept of user-generated content isn't new. It’s been at the heart of platforms such as YouTube and TikTok for years, leveraging user creativity to drive growth. The crucial difference with the new direction for Netflix and other streamers is the injection of artificial intelligence. Streaming services will soon shift from content providers to content facilitators, combining the potential of AI with the imaginations of viewers to produce personalized, real-time entertainment experiences.

For example, with advancements in natural language processing and generative AI models, Netflix users could potentially summon a piece of content into existence with simple verbal prompts. One could say, "Create a 30-minute detective mystery set in 19th century London with a strong female lead," and the AI would generate a compelling narrative satisfying these parameters. This on-demand creativity harnesses AI's computational power to offer an unprecedented level of personalization, democratizing the creation process and putting storytelling in the hands of the viewer.

The appeal of this model lies not just in its novelty, but in its ability to provide truly bespoke entertainment. Rather than guiding users towards existing content, the AI would be creating something new, unique, and precisely tailored to each viewer's request. It could also learn from feedback, iteratively improving the content it generates. In this way, the AI would become a co-creator, an assistant helping viewers realize their entertainment visions.

The implications for the industry are profoundly disruptive. If viewers can create their own unique content, traditional methods of content acquisition could become obsolete, signaling a dramatic change in the entertainment business model. This could also potentially reduce reliance on expensive, high-profile acquisitions and production costs, as the AI would generate content using existing digital resources. Moreover, it could democratize the consumption and creation of content on a global scale.

The end of content acquisition as we know it doesn't necessarily mean the death of professionally-produced series and movies. There should continue to be some level of demand for professionally crafted narratives and high-quality production values. However, this revolution in viewer-driven content creation paves the way for a more interactive, personalized, and dynamic form of entertainment. The future of AI at the streamers and within the broader industry could well hinge on the fusion of AI-driven content generation and user creativity, heralding a new era of bespoke, democratized entertainment.

In the meantime, content creators such as myself — whether employing AI tools or not — will continue to plug away in the hope that the fruit of our creative efforts will be worth peoples’ time and money.

Why? Because we don’t do it for the money. We were born this way.

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at and he can be reached at