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Why Elevated Metadata is the Foundation of the AI-Powered Media Supply Chain

Eric Carson, EVP Strategic Growth at Vubiquity, a global leader in software and services for communications and media companies, is sharing his thoughts regarding why he believes that elevated metadata is the foundation of the AI-powered media supply chai

Burbank, CA(13 May 2024)

Metadata is fundamental to creating an exceptional viewer experience, but for all that can be achieved with enriched and comprehensive metadata, attaining that level of detail remains a challenge. At its fullest potential, metadata enables discoverability and personalization. It facilitates accurate distribution, giving audiences high-quality content formatted for their video services and viewing devices. Equally important, accurate and comprehensive metadata is crucial to optimizing content sales and enhanced monetization.

Solid metadata is the foundation of any and every high-performing media workflow. It has been around for decades. However, despite its importance and longevity, metadata tools and solutions are scarce. With the growing complexity of the media landscape—specifically, the rise of streaming services and expansion of digital content libraries—managing and utilizing metadata is a real challenge. Vubiquity is leading metadata advancements with new AI-enabled tools such as MetaVU and services that help customers fully realize their libraries as well as maximize sales and efficiency. 

Why Metadata Management Matters

The beginning of metadata in media operations was marked by its limitations, primarily due to physical media. Initially, captured metadata was minimal, often limited to what was found on labels attached to physical media like VHS tapes, DVDs, or film reels. As content libraries migrated from film to digital, this approach to tracking and organizing metadata quickly resulted in inconsistent and incomplete digital metadata, varying widely in nomenclature and categorization. It’s a shaky foundation with incomplete and non-standard metadata that makes it difficult to leverage libraries effectively. 

Flash forward to the last five years: metadata has risen in both volume and value amidst the explosion of digital content platforms. Beyond information on genre, actors, etc. metadata must now include rights and avails information, which plays a critical role in determining how and where content can be distributed. This coupling ensures that content reaches its intended audience without breaching contractual agreements or infringing on intellectual property rights. For global distribution, this is particularly vital as it involves navigating a complex web of regional licensing agreements, language preferences, and cultural sensitivities. In short, inconsistent or incomplete metadata jeopardizes the entire media supply chain.  

Modern Pain Points

When faced with incomplete metadata, media organizations’ first move is to fill it in. It is a time-consuming process that leads many to use third-party data providers. These services deliver little insight into how data is collected, or if data relies on user-generated content. In both instances, this can lead to the introduction of inaccuracies or irrelevant information, ultimately detracting from the authenticity and integrity of the content, and creating poor user experiences.

Another common pain point in modern metadata management is the task of organizing chaotic metadata when media organizations acquire content libraries. When content is acquired or licensed from various sources, there is a notable loss of control over its metadata. This is due to the disparate systems and standards used by different content creators and distributors, making it challenging to maintain accurate and consistent metadata across the board. Rectification requires a significant investment in resource hours to parse through and organize this information manually.

The Urgency of Standardizing Libraries 

The drive towards metadata standardization, championed by initiatives such as those recommended by MovieLabs, underscores the industry's pursuit of uniformity and efficiency. However, this endeavor introduces complexities, particularly in adhering to specific naming conventions and schemas designed to harmonize metadata across myriad platforms. Such standardization requires rigorous attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to consistency, posing challenges in managing metadata effectively.

Standardization efforts aim to simplify the metadata ecosystem, ensuring interoperability and seamless integration across diverse platforms and systems. By adopting standardized practices, the industry can mitigate the challenges of decentralized title metadata, multiple back-end systems and legacy silos, which have historically plagued media operations. This unified approach fosters a streamlined, efficient methodology for metadata management crucial for scaling operations and extending geographic reach.

Case in point, while Generative AI was dominating the conversation, our MetaVU solution took home the Best of Show and Product of the Year awards at NAB 2024. The world’s largest media trade show put the importance of metadata solutions front and center. Without them, utilizing AI (no matter how good it is), is all but certainly a non-starter if your foundation is anything less than rock solid.

How MetaVU Addresses the Challenges of Metadata

MetaVU is Vubiquity's centralized, cloud-based metadata management solution that simplifies title, rights and avails metadata for digital content platforms, offering a highly scalable nomenclature that conforms to MovieLabs' standardization schema. MetaVU leverages its powerful AI capabilities to flag missing or incomplete data and provide information to fill those gaps, ensuring that every piece of content is optimized for each distribution endpoint. MetaVU can enrich metadata at scale while minimizing the risk of human error, making it a future-proof solution that adapts to changing standards and requirements. This comprehensive approach to metadata not only streamlines operations but also sets the stage for more sophisticated, AI-powered automation efforts across the media supply chain.

The future of AI-powered automation in the media supply chain relies heavily on the availability of high-quality metadata. Metadata acts as the linchpin for AI algorithms, enabling them to intelligently analyze content, predict trends and make data-driven decisions. With MetaVU, Vubiquity not only anticipates these future needs but actively contributes to the infrastructure that will support the next wave of innovations in the media industry.

Here’s How to Control Your Metadata 

The future of metadata isn’t about the race to the finish line — it's about wielding it to claim an edge in an industry where innovation is inexorable. MetaVU is more than just an ally in the metadata management battle; it lays the groundwork for the advanced AI-driven media supply chain automation that is coming. 

Connect with us to learn how we can help get your metadata in order: