Don't neglect one of your most important media assets
When managing your media assets, don't neglect one of the most important assets of all - the metadata.
More from 3B Media's David Shapiro.
Almost all broadcasters today are investing the necessary resources to manage, store and deliver their vital media assets – their media files. The importance of these media files goes without question, and with the growing challenges of managing the assets across multiple platforms and formats, much emphases is given to ensuring the process is done right. However, a large number of broadcasters tend to neglect another type of asset. An asset shared by all of the media assets; an asset that plays a vital role in determining what to air and when. Or what revenue you can expect from your lineup. Or better still – an asset that helps ensures that workflow processes are running as efficiently as possible. I am of course referring to the media metadata. Too many broadcasters seem to overlook the importance of the metadata, and worse still, do not utilise the potential it holds. "Content is King" – Redstone vs Gates "Content is King". This is a phrase made famous by Bill Gates back in 1996. However, he was not the first to use the term which is first attributed to Sumner Redstone (majority owner and former CEO of CBS and Viacom) in 1994, two years before Bill Gates' famous "Content Is King" article. When Redstone first used the term, he was referring to programme content, claiming that there are two main factors in broadcasting; content and distribution. The distribution channels, he said, would always be around and would inevitably improve with technology over time. It was, therefore, the content that required the most resources to keep it at a high standard. Looking at today's technology and evolving delivery methods, Redstone could not have been more accurate. Bill Gates, (Founder and former CEO of Microsoft) on the other side, when using the term, was not referring necessarily to TV or video content, but rather content as information and data. Bill Gates vision was that every household would own a PC and that all and any information would be at their fingertips. He had no idea back then how right he would be. Broadcasters today need to take both of these visionary's interpretation of ‘Content is King' and use it in their day-to-day business. On the one hand, everyone must be a Redstone. The content itself, the assets and the delivery methods are playing a major role and are way there at the top of the priority list of any broadcaster. In a quest to offer viewers added value, broadcasters are investing large amounts of resources to improve what content they deliver and how they provide it. Be it linear, nonlinear, OTT, VOD, SVOD, whatever, methods of delivery are continuously evolving at paces Redstone could only have dreamed about back in 1994. However, in broadcasting, not everyone is a Gates, and his interpretation of the story sometimes seems to be neglected. Right there, next to the assets and content, should be all relevant metadata, the critical information that has the potential to tell us everything there is to know not only about the asset, but also the content held on the asset. It is common sense that every broadcaster must manage a certain amount of required metadata to be able to deliver content (e.g. A/V format, duration, house number). However, what about the metadata that is not delivery critical? This valuable information that can really benefit broadcasters, but not everyone take the necessary measures to gather and store this data. Utilising Metadata The metadata can be used in a variety of useful ways. On top of giving end viewers an improved viewing experience by offering them additional search parameters and more information about the content they are viewing, it also holds endless internal opportunities for the broadcaster. These could include improving search capabilities, categorising content, identifying viewing trends, revenue analysis, to name a few. In addition, more and more broadcasters are using BI systems to analyse their performance and help increase revenue, but this can only be made possible employing rich metadata and as much information about all of the aired events as possible. When it comes to airtime sales, rich metadata can significantly increase efficiency by giving the advertisers and agencies more relevant information about the content that is being broadcast, on both linear and non-linear platforms. This will lead to increased revenue in the long run. Targeted and programmatic advertising rely entirely on rich metadata to be more efficient. The more information supplied to the automated systems, the higher the chance of delivering advertising content to the right target groups. Another significant aspect of metadata is that it can be used to drive business processes. A simple example of this could be the difference between content regulations for children and prime-time. Based on the content category, an automated workflow can know what type of QA and compliance the media requires, and will channel it to the appropriate teams accordingly. Metadata Management So, how to start? To get the most from your media metadata, here are a few useful starting tips Your metadata is only as good as the systems that manage it. If you do not already have such a system, you need to select one that not only holds all the information you need but also is capable of doing so throughout the entire media lifecycle. Also, bear in mind that like with everything in the broadcasting industry, metadata management is constantly evolving and changing. Your metadata management system must have the flexibility to be able to easily add new fields at each stage of the media lifecycle for holding new types of information. Metadata management is not something that can be introduced overnight. It is a lengthy process and needs to be carefully planned out. Making things up as you go along will leave you with too many loose ends, and you will find yourself concentrating on the wrong things. You must carefully plan out exactly what your goals are from improving your metadata, and draw out the metadata you will need to achieve those goals. Then start slowly, step by step, building up your metadata, preferably taking one stage of your workflow at a time. As already pointed out above, metadata can be used as a trigger for business workflows, and improved workflows mean increased efficiency, reduction of cost and a long-term increase in revenue. Considering introducing a BI platform should also be on your list. BI analytics will give you increased visibility of your operations, allowing you to cross-reference information from multiple sources, slicing and dicing it as you see fit. 3B Media offers such a service for small to medium broadcasters, using Let's go back to Redstone and Gates. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Am I managing my media assets according to Sumner Redstone's interpretation, concentrating only on the content and the actual media asset? Or am I also taking Bill Gates' approach and gathering and storing all relevant metadata for those assets, utilising not only the video content but also the video information and to its fullest?