MetaBroadcast – Overpaying for data?

MetaBroadcast – Overpaying for data?

IABM Journal

MetaBroadcast – Overpaying for data?

Wed 04, 10 2023

MetaBroadcast – Overpaying for data?

Elevating the value of metadata for managing and distributing video has never been more important. However, this requires an understanding of existing licensed or owned data, prioritizing the creation of a data strategy and a commitment to persistent centralized metadata management. The result is cost-optimized data driving monetization.

Maximize content investments

At a time when exposing the depth of their content libraries matters more than ever, video service providers must also manage costs more effectively. With dual strikes shutting down the Hollywood film and TV production industry, the value of existing content has skyrocketed. This means both studios and video service providers must do everything they can to maximize their content investments by showcasing and marketing their content archives. This includes making sure that the metadata, the often overlooked but critical “data about data”, that describes each title is complete, accurate and relevant.

Metadata includes programme titles, IDs (usually more than one), genre, series, episodes, images, crew, synopses (of different lengths), release dates, duration, schedule (where appropriate), ratings, reviews, and aliases. These data types are just examples of the metadata available. The availability and accuracy of these different types of metadata can make or break success in achieving business goals.

Metadata is used across the value chain to manage the sale, distribution and consumption of content. Traditional metadata providers are known for their expertise in providing valuable metadata related to schedules, synopses, images and other details important to the monetization of professional video content. Below are some examples of how metadata is used today:

  • Studios use it to facilitate content sales between studios and content distributors such as networks, broadcasters or streaming services.
  • D2C, SVOD, FAST and Linear service providers use metadata to promote their content libraries or channels and to align ads to relevant content.
  • Consumers use it every day to learn more about the programmes, films or events available for them to watch.

As media organizations recognize the intrinsic value of their metadata, they are also realizing that they need data from more than one data source. As their metadata strategies evolve, the imperative is to optimize the use of all available internal data sources even as they investigate relevant external sources.

Take control of your metadata

The challenge for the owners and distributors of video content is that their metadata often resides in siloed platforms. While one platform may be used to identify content available for licensing, another platform manages content for broadcast, and yet another manages content for streaming. It is not uncommon for one line of business to identify the need for additional metadata without realizing it may already exist within the wider organization. The result is duplicate data and possibly paying for the same metadata multiple times.

It is now understood that a ‘metadata transformation’ is needed with the goal of creating an enterprise-wide unified metadata repository or “Single Source of Truth’. The starting point for a cohesive metadata strategy is performing an audit of existing metadata – regardless of where it is currently residing. Validating data quality can be achieved using rules-based automation to identify data fields that are complete, accurate and consistent.

Data matters. It is the driver behind content sales and consumption. Ensuring the accuracy of the availability and accuracy of data in key fields is critical. A review of some common data fields shows that:

  1. Cast and crew are the biggest draw for why people watch a film or show
  2. Duration helps the audience understand if they have the time to watch. It also dictates the type of programme (e.g., sitcoms are typically c.20 minutes, whereas films are c.90 minutes).
  3. Release Dates identify when a film was initially made available for audience viewing. They also provide clarification between content with similar titles. (e.g., Spiderman)
  4. Genres help audiences set their expectations for what they will be watching.
  5. Reviews and awards reveal the commercial and/or artistic success of a title.
  6. Titles/Episodes reinforce what is available or being watched, and if it is part of a franchise.

By unifying and assessing data from multiple internal sources, organizations can visualize the data fields most important to their lines of business and determine if existing metadata is fit for purpose. These visualizations often reveal important data fields with no data. When it comes to metadata, more detail means greater context. Missing data reduces the relevance of content records and leads to requests for data enrichment. With cost management in mind, video services may find that data enrichment can be achieved simply by unifying and cleansing data spread across multiple internal databases.

Focus on your priorities

The journey to a single source of truth will reveal the data sources used for different types of data – often with more than one source providing data for any given data field. Businesses should prioritize their use of data sources, including data they have created themselves. They may choose to prioritize sources based on the data type. It is also important to make sure that only one data licence exists with any one source. Data is expensive. No one should pay for the same data more than once.

With our decade-plus experience working with leading media organizations, we recommend defining a standard metadata schema and consolidating data into a centralized metadata repository. Without a consistent structure as to how metadata should be organized it is almost impossible for data to provide the expected value. Data is not static; not only should it be well structured, but it should also be updated regularly to ensure relevance.

The future requires media organizations to utilize contextual and informative data to achieve their business goals. Active metadata management is the key to ensuring the right data is available and in the right place at the right time. A meaningful platform will incorporate rules-based processes to automate functions such as data ingest, data cleansing, equivalence, genre classification, hierarchy healing and other capabilities important to consolidating and managing metadata.

This is the foundation of our approach to metadata management. The value of our system lies in its automation, transparency and repeatability. Our cloud-based Atlas platform orchestrates data workflows and automates processes for normalizing, matching, de-duplicating and unifying metadata based upon an agreed data schema and related priorities. Atlas automates and iterates the review of data hierarchies to ensure compliance with the data schema and availability of data related to TV brand, series, and episode or film collections and franchises.

High-quality descriptive metadata is critical to the long-term value of the video driving revenue for content owners, broadcasters and streaming providers. But, its cost must be closely managed. We believe that taking control of your metadata from the perspective of ensuring both quality and relevance will result in both cost and operational efficiencies while increasing overall revenue.

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