The Importance of Metadata

By Roger Franklin  |  December 21, 2016

Encompass Digital Media CTO Knows the Value of Metadata

At NAB Show New York, I was honored to be joined by Alan Young, CTO of Encompass to discuss the importance of metadata. As a company that originates around 800 channels, Alan is well versed in the need for metadata and for better automation in the evolving world of video distribution.

Keeping Up With OTT Demand

In my mind, the key is that things need to change. With the industry evolving as it is, broadcasters are no longer able to simply create a linear feed and distribute it. Consumers are increasingly demanding TV anytime, anywhere, and on any device, and all content providers need to be looking at over-the-top (OTT) delivery to keep up with that demand.

At the same time, advertisers are no longer getting their money’s worth and are looking for new ways to advertise. It is all too easy for consumers to skip ads on video and the adverts are generally not relevant to the majority of viewers. OTT however gives content providers a massive opportunity to target advertising to ensure viewers are only being served extremely relevant adverts. Ultimately that will drive value for advertisers and consumers alike.

Metadata Delivers the Money

Metadata is absolutely crucial to enabling these new revenue models and targeted advertising, but more than that, it can enable it to be done in a very automated fashion, which is frame accurate, consistent, and reliable. There are also numerous new potential sources of revenue, such as product placement, which can be done with the right metadata in place. Another good value add is the re-purposing and reselling of content, such as pulling together highlights from a weekend’s worth of football matches.

During my session with Alan Young, he talked about the unique workflow needed in the OTT world. He explained how the continuous TV signal has to be broken up into a set of files which can then be transmitted over the internet. The challenge with that is knowing where to draw the line to mark the start and end of a fragment. Unless you tell the device where to start and end, you might have the end of a program and the beginning of an advert in the same chunk, which makes changing the ad content much more complex. It can also lead to a disjointed video experience for the consumer.

Setting Boundaries for Live Tweets

As Alan commented, you need to first define the boundary and in order to do that you need to identify the exact point at which a program starts and ends. The only place you can do that is in the automation system. You can then take this further still. One great example of how it could add value is during a live sports event, such as a football match. If you mark the exact first frame of kick off, then gather data of specific moments throughout that match, such as a goal, you can reference that and automatically tweet a clip of those moments as they happen.  Tweeting moments during live sports is of course something that happens today, but as Alan pointed out, this is done manually, but could be done automatically.

There are a number of tools out there to help you understand the metadata inserted in your feeds and ensure that it is present and correct. Crystal Video Metadata Analyzer is one of those tools, and is part of our comprehensive Crystal INSIGHT system for automating and monetizing OTT content.

OTT certainly opens up a wealth of opportunity to do things better and I look forward to seeing more and more broadcasters embrace that to deliver truly personalised content and advertising to every consumer.

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