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Metadata secrets for expanding your content's reach

Ben Weinberger
Metadata secrets for expanding your content's reach Ben Weinberger

Earlier this spring, when NBC debuted "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", the late-night host -- who had spent six months fine-tuning his act in a special online version of the show -- quickly showcased his digital chops by hosting web ingénues like Kevin Rose, interacting with his fans on Twitter during the show, and conducting an online contest that allowed fans to choose his new logo.

In today's digital age, consumers expect to access and interact with content anytime, anywhere, and on any device -- presenting inherent opportunities and challenges to premium content owners faced with expanding multiple channels of distribution, building new audiences, and extending engagement. And of course, all of these content owners share a goal of increasing the bottom-line value for existing film and television libraries.

Digital media is only as valuable as the audience it can deliver to an advertiser, which makes metadata the key element in any strategy designed to match relevant video content and ads with an engaged and interested audience.

Adopting the following habits can help any premium content owner start building a more effective metadata management strategy that encompasses content programming, performance measurement, and audience building:

  1. Create rich, intelligent video metadata that goes beyond the standard asset-level information. Intelligent metadata should leverage leading-edge technologies such as facial recognition, scene classification, speech recognition, natural language processing, object identification, and ad break detection to create an index of intelligent video tags. Such metatags can cover a variety of video elements such as characters, actors, scenes, locations, dialogue, subject matter, emotion, and behavior to deliver the deepest level of intelligence about assets -- and better match what a given audience is looking for, ensuring longer sessions and a higher return rate.

  2. Build an intelligent metadata management framework. A metadata management framework should be the secret sauce in your digital media strategy. A comprehensive framework powers the creation, aggregation and distribution of intelligent metadata across your media business, ensuring consistency, increased synergies, and derived monetization from every step of the asset management chain. Without it, you've just got a mass of metadata and unrealized value.

  3. Deliver intelligent metadata in a time-based index. Intelligent metadata should be processed on a frame-by-frame basis and provided in a time-coded format to precisely pinpoint each frame. This will enable effective search, clip creation, and ad break placement.

  4. Enable a Google-like search experience. To build audience, your viewers need to easily find your videos. A free-form search capability combs your library for matches across a complex list of criteria and displays the results in an easy-to-read, time-based thumbnail. Unlike yesterday's filtering technologies, free-form search enables consumers to search infinite combinations, assigns weighting to results, and prioritizes results to make search faster and easier, so content owners can increase viewing times and build new audiences for premium TV and film content.

  5. Create a superior viewer experience with customized clips and playlists. Intelligent metadata holds so much information about content that it can include hundreds, even thousands, of video elements. This intelligence can be harnessed in innovative ways to deliver customized clips and playlists that increase viewer engagement and deliver a superior "lean-forward" experience.

  6. Use metadata to help manage rights and track clearance issues. Along with the consumer-facing uses of metadata, a metadata framework also provides significant value to the behind-the-scenes management of digital assets. Intelligent metadata is particularly helpful at seamlessly managing rights, licenses, and clearances based on geography, music, and users.

  7. Apply advanced analytics to target advertising, programming, and scheduling. When combining intelligent metadata with advanced analytics on usage and behavior, content owners can target ads, programming, and content scheduling to increase viewer engagement. Such data management can also recommend relevant content to increase viewing times. All of this adds up to more viewers, who watch more video and create more monetization opportunities for existing content.

Ben Weinberger is the CEO of Digitalsmiths.  

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