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Why Launchrr isn’t AI—and why Hollywood shouldn’t be afraid of AI

Updated: Apr 26

By Khiow Hui Lim, Founder of IQI Media & Chief Strategy Officer of Winvest

During a recent discussion regarding strategic system design, my team—including lead product designer Kelly Brehm, software system designer Scott Xue, and database engineer Jennifer Ling—deliberated on whether to develop a content aggregator automation application or an artificial intelligence (AI) automation system for Launchrr, our cloud-based distribution platform for filmmakers and content creators, which is now entering the user testing phase. Ultimately, we decided against pursuing an AI system, as it would slow down Launchrr's development.

Why, you ask? Rather than dedicating significant time to developing an AI automation system and exploring new and disruptive concepts, our goal is to capitalize on existing AI tools while creating a user-friendly automation and aggregation user marketplace that will help filmmakers and content creators secure distribution deals more efficiently. We are clear that AI alone can’t automate this, as Hollywood currently lacks a connector—specifically, an enterprise play that bridges the gap between streamers, content creators, and unions. That’s why we created Launchrr, and it’s also why we believe data, not AI, is the missing piece of the puzzle.

As the nexus between Hollywood’s nay-sayers and yea-sayers, the data that fuels an enterprise solution like Launchrr should not be considered training data for AI. The recent Hollywood strikes were heavily focused on generative AI, and a proposed bill in Congress—titled the “Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act of 2024”—has been endorsed by well-known artists and Hollywood unions for its emphasis on copyright protection. Yet the apprehensions and hypotheticals regarding generative AI are still in their infancy. Before enacting regulations for a non-existent issue, I would suggest we allow the opportunity for private startups like Launchrr to test their SaaS solutions on the current problems.

As we move into the user testing phase, Launchrr will instead incorporate AI-ready applications that focus on business development and partnering with streamers and unions through application programming interfaces (APIs). In my experience as a content producer, I’ve noticed that the Hollywood unions, who act as industry regulators, don’t seem to have considered these innovative possibilities yet, but we believe they will slowly adapt and create new and intelligent roadmaps. Ultimately, a distribution platform like Launchrr can level the playing field — it can help all union members track their residuals from global streaming platforms and guide content creators on negotiating a better deal with the streamers, without needing to involve (and compensate) various middlemen.

At Launchrr, we will not be relying on revenue from smart TV advertising or other tools like generative AI, which Hollywood is particularly worried about. Although interactive advertisers and major streamers have already made a splash doing so, we are a tech company in the developmental stages that is poised to transform the streaming ecosystem through innovation and shared data. Our focus is on providing a user-friendly, transparent experience with our distribution platform, user marketplace, and audit management tools. After all, every filmmaker and content creator should be able to follow the money and employ cost-effective strategies that increase the chances of profitability for their project. 

We believe AI should be viewed as a supplementary tool rather than a replacement. 

As the Chief Strategy Officer at Winvest, an investment holding company with diverse media and entertainment portfolios, we understand that the most beneficial tool for the end user is not necessarily the most technologically advanced. Rather, we believe that AI should be viewed as a supplementary tool rather than a replacement. Throughout history, human workspaces have adapted to technological innovation to revolutionize the economy. The integration of AI will undoubtedly lead to increased productivity and a corresponding rise in compensation. This upward trend in pay will create new job opportunities, resulting in a positive economic impact.

In today's technologically advanced world, there is an increasing concern among the Hollywood top brass that AI could replace or eliminate their jobs. However, the truth is that AI is not about to replace creativity; rather, it is set to provide humans with 100 times more leverage. The fear that AI will take over the film industry is based on the common misconception about the impact of automation on knowledge work. In truth, automation has already enabled the emergence of new sub-industries while boosting productivity and increasing the overall growth of industries that were once predicted to be replaced by computers.

The fear of job loss in the entertainment industry in general is not entirely misplaced, as the industry is still recalibrating after the pandemic, but it is important to understand that AI is not a threat to creativity, but rather an enabler. Instead of spreading fear and misinformation, producers, directors and writers should experiment with and learn to leverage AI to better focus on their intended objectives. For example, writers’ rooms can be extremely busy. To save time, let these new generative systems do the research, propose ideas, and solve the problem.

Similarly, Launchrr saves time, money, and sanity for anyone submitting their film or series to multiple streamers—making aggregation headache-free by avoiding all the endless technical hurdles. Instead of having to manually fill out Excel spreadsheets or check formulas in every cell for every distributor and at the same time submitting all of your project information to the guilds for surveillance, Launchrr is a “one and done” submission process. This is not only far more efficient but also leads to 100 times more results. 

Despite not being a computer science major or software engineer, I have dedicated years to absorbing knowledge from technology mentors of all levels. Through their tutelage, I have come to understand the fundamental principles underlying machine learning and AI. Because of this, I firmly believe that regulators should establish fair use guidelines for API data learning. However, it is crucial for them to acknowledge that AI modules do not typically retain data during the learning phase. This awareness can quell many of the fears surrounding AI. 

Overall, AI may seem daunting to some, but just like Launchrr, it has the potential to create new opportunities and boost productivity in numerous ways. I believe Hollywood will continue to flourish as long as it continues to produce globally appealing content with innovative storytelling and creative ideas. Otherwise, consumption will slow down, with or without the integration of AI, as people choose to spend time watching social media videos that are more entertaining and relatable.

So don’t worry about AI, I say. Instead, worry about the quality of your storytelling. It was—and still is—the most important factor.

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Storytelling is as old as humanity.

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