Metadata and the Battle for Streaming ROI
Whether your game is FAST, AVOD, SVOD, hybrid, or premium or longtail content, leveraging metadata intelligently is a critical component of monetizing your offerings. Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), discusses this topic with Paul Erickson, Founder and Principal, Erickson Strategy & Insights, Bethany Atchison, VP, Distribution Partner Management, Vevo, Daniel Trotta, Product Manager, Content Engagement & Monetization, Warner Bros Discovery, and Alan Wolk, Co-Founder/Lead Analyst, TVREV in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2023.
Pfaff notes that a major topic right now in the streaming industry is the importance of metadata for receiving the best possible ROI. “This is a big, big topic right now as streamers, large and small are trying to find revenue,” he says. “And how are they going to do that?” He asks Erickson about his thoughts on the situation.
“I think metadata is absolutely key, in my opinion, to multiple elements that either directly or indirectly tie to ROI,” Erickson says. “And so when we think about sustaining engagement, which is fundamental to retention and monetization, it's directly connected to personalization and search and recommendation. If we think about how efficiently you can target and address specific audiences with your advertising, that specificity is aided tremendously by the metadata that helps advertisers understand the nuances of that audience they're trying to hit. There's a lot of value [that can be] reaped by those parties who can effectively enhance and enrich metadata, typically using AI…and particularly when it comes to equalizing the level of metadata quality and richness in diverse libraries that may be consistent or that may consist of new and legacy content perhaps from different sources such as what you might have in a FAST channel.”
Erickson also points out that metadata can help to better target the “specific nuances of portions of your content portfolio that are not performing well with your audience and give you some insight into why, depending on the richness and quality of that metadata. And thus, it can help you optimize your existing content portfolio and inform your future content acquisition strategy.”
Pfaff says, “Basically, you’re saying that metadata is really the linchpin. It’s the DNA of everything.”
Erickson says good metadata is table stakes, but “rich metadata is potentially a force multiplier for overall service ROI if you leverage it correctly.”
Pfaff says to Atchison, “I think last year you were really responsible for creating the FAST Channel strategy for Vevo. Talk a little bit about that and how you're using data to amplify and pump up that ROI.”
“So for anyone who doesn't know,” Atchison says, “Vevo is the world's leading music video network. We have over 800,000 music videos in our catalog across a variety of decades across genres. So organizing our data is really important to keep track of all of that content.” She emphasizes that clean metadata is essential in order to efficiently organize and optimize information. “We have a programming team that uses their expertise to program each of our individual fast channels, but they need to leverage AI and data to really comb through all of that and surface everything to them because there's just so much content to go through. So for us, it's really tantamount to the success of our channels.”
Pfaff says to Trotta, “Let's talk about channels with Warner Brothers Discovery. Talk about how you're sifting through the metadata sands to enhance all things revenue.”
Trotta focuses on the “pause ad” feature available on many platforms as a good use case of metadata for exceptional ROI. “Say you're watching something like Breaking Bad and you pause on one of those moments in Breaking Bad where maybe you don't want somebody walking into the room. You also don't want an advertiser's ad to pop up over that. I know streaming services are working towards this metadata that runs through the episode to show you when areas are safe and when they are not. It allows you to take this ad format and distribute it across more of your programming hours than you otherwise would have. So that's ROI. That's money in your pocket right there. And it's a better viewing experience than dropping this ad where it shouldn't be.”
Pfaff asks Wolk, “What recently stands out to you in terms of the state of metadata where streamers are battling for engagement and retention?”
Wolk says that a major current issue for utilizing good metadata is the fact that when older popular shows were first digitized, no one really thought about how to tag content consistently. “Like Seinfeld ‘comedy show,’ Seinfeld, ‘funny show.’ And sometimes it'd be in all caps, sometimes it'd be in lowercase,” he says. “It's really hard to kind of match it up. And so there's been a lot of work being done. There are companies like IRIS.TV, which have sort of created a content tag that tries to standardize it. But it's a huge problem with advertising because a lot of times they don't really know what's going on. The good news is everybody's aware of it and is moving to fix it, but it's way behind what's available on digital.”
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