Metadata Madness Speakers: Content Owners Still Have Data Work to do

It’s no secret that metadata is a crucial component for success for everyone in the media and entertainment space today, from OTT and service providers to advertisers and marketers.

Content owners have every ability to monetize their assets using metadata, but they’re still figuring out how to do it effectively, Weidman said. And today, conversational, contextual, semantic metadata is a must for media and entertainment companies looking to make the most out of what they own. Yet content owners are still struggling with the “how” of that process, she said.

A lot of data still isn’t being taken advantage of, she said, because it is not getting pushed up the supply chain to where it can be incorporated with finished assets. She shared an example where one studio’s metadata for a film actually relayed how awful the property was.

“I like to think of it as a resume for [any] piece of content,” she said, speaking at the March 16 Metadata Madness event in New York. “If I had to write your resume, and I wrote ‘Don’t bother meeting this person, she’s useless and I don’t know why she bothered in the first place,’ she wouldn’t get the job.

“That analogy … works for pieces of content. Too often I see content owners and service providers letting other people write their content for them. This is something we’re trying to change, to get [everyone] more active with controlling and monetizing their assets. Metadata is an advertisement, metadata is your resume, and don’t let someone else write it for you.”

Matt Turner, CTO for MarkLogic, didn’t disagree: connecting data for content across the digital supply chain isn’t an easy task, and content companies are still struggling to make sense of it. But in just a few years, the industry has “come a long way” in its acceptance and implementation of data to its content, recognizing that metadata “is the glue, the thing that goes across the entire supply chain.”

Oftentimes, metadata is behind the scenes, Turner added, but it easily impacts everything across the supply chain. He pointed to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” app — launched last year — which features a personalization engine, one that responds to what the user is watching, and predicts what they want next. The more a viewer interacts, the better it offers up clips that fit the viewer’s tastes.

“It broke a lot of ground,” Turner said. “The metadata drove a really great experience, an engaging experience … and it was because of smart content, looking at the whole picture.”

What’s happening today, he stressed, is a unique opportunity, thanks to metadata-centric endeavors like the SNL app: content owners realize they can access customer data in ways they’ve never been able to before. And while it may not be “nicely ordered,” it’s crucial that content owners sift through it, Turner said.

“The data everybody wants is all over the place,” he added. “The context around that data is what you need to make it universally available.”

But, even if new metadata-driven opportunities exist, it’s still up to content companies to take advantage of them. Don Dulchinos, executive director of the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) — which assigns unique ID codes to every video asset possible, with the goal of streamlining digital delivery and simplifying commercial transactions — admitted that it’s a challenge to “sell” the importance of metadata, both within a company, and to a company’s customers.

“What’s the business case for ontology?” he said, half joking. He said that many content companies still have legacy, internal systems — asset distribution, content publishing, financial — that are behind on adapting to modern metadata opportunities.

And Harold Geller, chief growth officer for the Advertising Digital Identification (Ad-ID) group, added that even with existing standards for data entry, the same data will often be re-keyed, repeatedly, by different industry players, needlessly.

“There is time and money that can be saved by using content identification,” he said. “We as a metadata community need to work together, to develop trials, and document and publish the findings.”

Look for more coverage of the 2016 Metadata Madness event in the M&E Daily and Smart Content newsletters.