Disney Testing AI That Matches ‘Mood’ of Programming to Ads

Disney has come up with a new kind of magic.

The House of Mouse is using artificial intelligence in a new advertising tool that helps brands craft advertising to fit the mood of individual scenes in a movie or television show, Reuters reported Friday.

The tool, called “Disney’s Magic Words,” brings to the fore a new way to place ads on Disney+ and Hulu, using “a combination of AI and machine learning to analyze and tag scenes across its library, identifying the contents, brands, images and mood,” the report said.

In short, the tool places descriptive tags, known as metadata, on content to identify specific scenes or moods, which can then be used to personalize advertising. It is already in beta testing with six global advertising companies — Omnicom, Group M, Dentsu, Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands and Publicis Media — Disney told the outlet.

The innovation means leaving broad demographics behind “and buying specific audiences,” Geoffrey Calabrese, Omnicom Media Group’s chief investment officer, told the outlet. “These magic words are literally going to be able to connect me to the emotions of the consumer, at an audience level. And for us, that’s really a game changer.”

Rita Ferro, Disney’s global head of ad sales, told Reuters the feature allows advertisers to maximize the impact of their messages “because it resonates with concepts that the viewers experience.”

The creation comes amid a broad ad slump and as traditional broadcast and cable operators are shedding both viewers and advertisers. While Disney reported a 10% revenue jump in its streaming business this week, it also said its ABC network saw a 3% drop in advertising revenue for the fiscal first quarter.

Meanwhile, the new ad-supported service on streamer Disney+ is drawing about half of all new subscribers, Disney executives said during the conference call discussing the results. That growth helped draw more than 1,000 advertisers to the service in the first quarter.

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