Harnessing The Power of AI: Interview With Victor Potrel Of TheSoul Publishing
More than a hundred engineers work on the company’s AI and efficiency solutions as it leads the way with advanced technology that includes its AI-enabled content management and distribution platform that’s being utilised by content creators across the globe.
In our interview with Victor Potrel, vice president of content distribution at TheSoul Publishing, Potrel spoke to us about the ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI and how AI is not only reshaping digital media, but is helping TheSoul Publishing create more engaging content, reach new audiences and stay ahead of the curve.
Can you explain the concept of TheSoul Platform as an in-house, AI-powered one-stop-shop for content creation management?
Victor Potrel: TheSoul Platform is our proprietary, AI-powered content creation management system. It’s essentially our central hub for content production and distribution, integrating tech and AI into every step of the creative process to streamline workflows, enhance efficiency, and boost productivity. It was created with a vision to simplify content creation and distribution and amplify it across every platform.
How has TheSoul Platform contributed to the significant growth of TheSoul Publishing?
TheSoul Platform has played a critical role in TheSoul Publishing’s growth by enabling more efficient, high-quality content production and distribution. A combination of creativity supported by advanced technology has directly contributed to our content generating 25 billion views monthly globally across platforms.
Additionally, the platform’s advancements in AI have saved us millions of production hours globally, allowing for faster content creation, deeper engagement with audiences and ultimately, significant business growth.
What has the partnership with Shorthand Studios been like? And are there other external partners working around the company’s new AI initiative?
Shorthand Studios is a division of Underscore Talent that we acquired in 2022, to showcase our AI capabilities. TheSoul Platform plays an instrumental role in powering a variety of services to creators worldwide.
Shorthand Studios allows creators to focus on creating their content while the team assists with developing and facilitating content strategy, editing, distribution, rights management and monetisation across all platforms and streaming services.
We’ve recently made a strategic investment in ElevenLabs, the leader in generative voice AI.
Tell us about how the AI-driven services help participating creators advance through the production process more seamlessly
Our AI-driven services are powered by TheSoul Platform and provide a comprehensive suite of tools that streamline the content creation process, making it more seamless and efficient. For example, starting from idea generation, our AI helps predict emerging content trends and offer dynamic content metric analysis, helping to stay ahead of the curve and align ideas with what audiences want to see.
When it comes to post-production, our AI helps optimise content for different platforms, adjusting aspect ratios while ensuring key characters and actions stay in focus.
Finally, our advanced content management system uses AI to ensure maximum content distribution and asset management efficiency. It also provides real-time performance analytics, helping to understand how content is performing and make necessary adjustments.
In essence, our AI-driven services act as a facilitator, enhancing each step of the production and distribution process and enabling the creation of better, more engaging content.
What are the biggest brands that have used your platform, and what benefits did they find?
Without getting into too much detail, I can say we serve a diverse array of popular creators, including those within TheSoul Publishing’s network and beyond, through Shorthand Studios. Our platform’s ability to streamline the production process, generate data-driven content insights, and save significant post-production and distribution time has generated immense value for our creators.
What are some of the challenges that the company has faced in implementing AI technology into its content creation process?
Innovation plays a crucial role at TheSoul Publishing. Since we created our first video, we haven’t stopped challenging ourselves to be better, more efficient and more creative. We experiment with everything and honestly, some of it doesn’t work but that’s all part of the process. The same goes for AI.
In fact, when we first started we were mostly using third-party technology. Some of it worked well but other systems were lacking. But those setbacks led us to begin creating much of our in-house proprietary technology which is now a significant part of TheSoul Platform.
As we continue to innovate, improve and develop our technology, the biggest challenges will likely dictate our future focus because if it’s a challenge to our team, that means it’s something that needs to be solved. And as tech leaders in the content creation space, we want to take on that challenge as it’s the only way we can continue to pioneer the space.
What can you tell us about your plans to extend AI content creation into games?
We’re in the early stages of exploring how AI can enhance the gaming experience both from a content creation and a player perspective. While our immediate focus remains on transforming the content creation landscape with AI, extending AI into games represents an exciting possibility for us in the future.
Our aim is to deliver personalised, immersive experiences that engage players on a deeper level and we see AI as a key tool in achieving this vision. Also, the same principles of efficient workflow, trend prediction and user engagement analysis could be applied to game development; especially in the hypercasual gaming space due to the ever-expanding intersection of social media and gaming.
As a content leader, how do you see AI shaping the future of the media and entertainment industry?
I believe the role of AI in the future will be transformative and extend beyond mere technological efficiency. It’s an enabler for creativity, a conduit for deeper connections and a catalyst for reimagining how we create and consume content. AI is streamlining workflows and eliminating mundane tasks, providing creators with more time to focus on the essence of their work — their creativity.
By leveraging AI, we can also derive meaningful insights from content performance data. This can help our content creators better understand their audiences, adapt to their preferences, and create content that resonates on a deeper level.
AI is also redefining the landscape of personalisation. AI-powered recommendation systems are creating unique, personalised content experiences that heighten user engagement and satisfaction. In the future, I envision an entertainment world where each user’s experience is tailored to their individual preferences, behaviours, and even moods — all enabled by AI.
AI technology also promises immense possibilities for content generation itself. We’re already seeing AI produce music, write scripts and generate artwork. While these technologies are still in their infancy, they point towards a future where AI doesn’t just assist creators but actually collaborates with them.
How do you think organisations can balance human creativity and AI-driven content creation?
Balancing AI and human creativity isn’t about one replacing the other; rather, it’s about AI augmenting human creativity, making processes more efficient and freeing creators to focus on the aspects of content creation that truly require a human touch.
What opportunities does AI present for content creators and how is TheSoul Publishing leveraging these opportunities?
AI presents numerous opportunities for content creators and media companies — from predictive analytics informing content creation to automated workflows boosting efficiency. We’re leveraging these opportunities by continually enhancing TheSoul Platform and partnering with pioneering AI companies like ElevenLabs to provide creators with the most innovative and effective tools available.
In its most basic form, creators who may only be publishing content on one platform can use AI to tailor that content for various platforms and localities, giving them access to a variety of audiences.
What is your perspective on the potential risks associated with AI, such as job displacement or automation? How is TheSoul Publishing addressing these concerns within its own personal workforce?
It’s crucial to view AI as an enabler rather than a replacer. At TheSoul Publishing, we’re proactive in upskilling our workforce to work alongside AI, ensuring our employees remain integral to our operations as we continue to leverage AI. In other words, we remain committed to responsible AI deployment, ensuring our technology enhances, rather than displaces our human talent.
How do you see AI evolving in, say, the next 5–10 years?
In the next 5–10 years, AI will become an even more integral part of the media and entertainment industry. From advanced content recommendations to automated production workflows and hyper-personalised user experiences, the potential applications are vast.
What advice would you give to companies looking to leverage AI technologies?
The incorporation of AI into a business model should be done judiciously and strategically. While AI can automate certain tasks, the human element remains essential — particularly in creative industries.
My advice would be to focus on how AI can augment the creative process rather than viewing it as a means to replace human labour. Furthermore, when implemented correctly, AI should enhance productivity and efficiency, creating a more robust, flexible and sustainable business model.
Could you provide insights into the future development plans for TheSoul Platform? What new features or capabilities can creators expect?
We’re continuously evolving TheSoul Platform to cater to changing and dynamic needs. Future developments will focus on further integrating AI into the content creation workflow, enhancing predictive analytics and providing more advanced content management tools.
We’re also exploring collaborations with other AI pioneers to bring additional features and capabilities to our platform such as the recently announced investment in Elevenlabs.
What challenges do you see ahead?
While we’re excited about the potential of AI, we acknowledge the challenges ahead. Ensuring our AI technologies maintain the delicate balance of augmenting rather than replacing human creativity will be a continuous focus. Keeping up with the rapid pace of AI advancements while ensuring the quality and relevance of our offerings will be a critical task but one we are well-experienced in, given that our AI developments have been rapidly progressing behind the scenes for many years.
No matter the changes and challenges that AI brings, TheSoul Publishing remains committed to overcoming them as we pave the way for a future where AI and human creativity harmoniously coexist.
Victor Potrel is vice president of content distribution at TheSoul Publishing. Based in London, he oversees the company’s global distribution and content strategy, including partnerships with the largest social media and streaming platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Samsung TV, and Roku. Victor joined TheSoul in 2019 and previously held positions at Google and LEGO, where he managed relationships with the world’s largest content creators and businesses, as well as led dedicated content innovation teams.