How to Effectively Manage OTT Video Content Metadata

BlogJul 28, 2022

Joe Mancini

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Over-the-top (OTT) content metadata is playing an increasing role in efforts by content owners and OTT streaming service providers to optimize the user experience and maximize revenue from television and film content assets.

OTT video streaming services compete for viewers by understanding what content their users want to see, creating or licensing content that matches their viewing preferences, and recommending content that keeps users engaged. OTT content metadata supports this process by making desirable content more discoverable for audiences, and by enabling more accurate and personalized content recommendations.

In this week’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at the role of OTT content metadata in optimizing user experiences for audiences of OTT video streaming services. You’ll find a clear definition and examples of OTT video metadata, along with the most impactful metadata use cases for content owners and OTT service providers. 

You’ll also discover five strategies for effectively managing your OTT content metadata.

What is OTT Content Metadata?

Metadata is usually defined as data that provides information about other data. In the context of online video streaming, OTT content metadata is structured data that provides descriptive information about a piece of video content hosted on an OTT streaming service.

When a video is hosted on an OTT platform, it is almost always accompanied by some metadata that provides information about the video, such as its title, genre, cast members, running time, and other details. OTT content metadata is used to categorize content on a platform, link it to other related content, and make video content more searchable and discoverable on OTT services.

12 Examples of OTT Content Metadata

OTT content metadata doesn’t just appear out of nowhere – it has to be created, stored, and managed by OTT video streaming services. 

In the past, large OTT streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have hired professional meta taggers to view their content and tag it with descriptive metadata, while other providers rely on content owners or other platform contributors to provide metadata for the content they submit.

Below are 12 examples of metadata that can provide information about a piece of video content on an OTT platform:

  1. Title – The name of the content asset.
  2. Category – A property that identifies whether the video content is a film, television series, mini-series, etc.
  3. Description – A description of the content asset (e.g. setting, themes, characters, etc.)
  4. Plot Synopsis – A short synopsis of the plot of the video content.
  5. Genre – A property that indicates the genre of the film or television series (e.g. action, adventure, romance, drama, science fiction, etc.)
  6. Cast & Crew Members – Metadata can be used to identify specific cast and crew members who appear in a piece of video content.
  7. Maturity Rating – Metadata can be used to identify a video’s maturity rating (e.g. R for restricted, MA for mature audiences, G for general audiences, etc.)
  8. Language & Production Country – Metadata is often used to specify the language of presentation for a piece of video content, as well as the country where the content was produced.
  9. Release Date – OTT content metadata often includes the original release date for a given piece of digital content.
  10. Content Length – Content metadata often reveals the total running time of a piece of video content.
  11. Custom Meta Tags – Some OTT streaming services use customized meta tags to create new ways of categorizing videos that appeal to specific categories of users.
  12. Asset ID – OTT video platforms often assign a unique ID number to each piece of content they host. Adding a unique identifier to OTT content metadata makes it easier to correlate the data with other sources, such as financial records and revenue statements.

Why is OTT Content Metadata Important?

When OTT video platforms invest the resources to tag their content with relevant descriptive metadata, they can start allowing users to filter their searches using content meta-tags. This can allow viewers to do things like:

  • Search for Western films released before 1978,
  • Quickly and easily find all of the Spanish-language films on a platform,
  • Filter age-appropriate content for young audiences, or
  • Discover new films featuring a favorite actor or director.

Making it easier for audiences to discover relevant content that resonates with their interests has been an ongoing objective for large Video-on-Demand (VOD) platforms seeking to maximize customer engagement and mitigate subscriber/audience churn. 

In the next section, we’ll explore how OTT content metadata is being used to support the content discovery process, power content recommendations, enhance ad placements, and maximize the value of content assets.

The Role of Metadata in an OTT Content Platform

We’ve already identified many types of metadata that are frequently attached to OTT content, plus we’ve hinted that metadata helps enable search filtering that makes content more discoverable. 

To understand more about use cases for OTT content metadata, let’s now take a more complete look at the different roles and functions of metadata in a modern OTT video platform.

Categorizing and Identifying Content

OTT content metadata allows video platform operators to accurately and consistently categorize content assets on their platforms. 

Defining the category/type (e.g. television, movie, documentary, etc.), genre (e.g. action, romance, comedy, etc.), maturity rating (e.g. R, MA, G, etc.), and other properties of each content asset makes it easier for content owners to know what’s available on their platform and where they might need to add more content.

Facilitating Content Discovery and Searchability

Search functions on OTT platforms allow users to search for content by entering the title of a video, but that’s only useful if the user knows what the video is called.

To enhance the searchability of content, OTT video platform operators can attach descriptive metadata to each video, then allow users to discover videos by searching for keywords in the metadata – not just by the title.

For example, suppose a user wants to watch the movie Hardball (2001) – but all they can remember is that it’s a baseball movie starring Keanu Reeves. How can an OTT video platform help this user find the desired content?

A platform offering Hardball could attach metadata to the video listing Keanu Reeves as a star in the film. It could also tag Hardball as a baseball film using a custom meta tag. The lead actor’s name, or the theme of the movie might also be included in the video description or plot synopsis. As a result, the film would be returned as a result when the user searches for “Keanu Reeves baseball movie”.

In addition to making video content more searchable on your platform, adding metadata to your videos can make them easier to find on search engines – but only if they’re hosted on the public Internet.

Enabling Content Recommendations

Content recommendations have always been a major focus of user experience optimization for VOD platforms. And as it turns out, content recommendation engines are heavily enabled by OTT content metadata.

For example, imagine a user who watched The Matrix (1999), 47 Ronin (2013), and Speed (1994) on their favorite OTT video streaming platform in the past week. 

If all three films were tagged with the appropriate metadata, a content recommendation engine would probably assess that this user is interested in watching action movies starring Keanu Reeves. Next, the engine would query the OTT platform’s content library for other action movies starring Keanu Reeves – films like Street Kings (2008) or John Wick (2014) – and recommend them to the user.

Enhancing Ad Placements and Personalization

OTT content metadata can help Advertising Video on Demand (AVOD) streaming services deliver a more personalized advertising experience on their platforms.

In the AVOD model, content is monetized by displaying advertisements before, during, and after the content as part of the viewing experience. When AVOD content is tagged with descriptive metadata, advertisers use those tags to target their advertisements to a highly specific audience segment. 

For example, a company selling baseball equipment might want to exclusively target audiences watching baseball movies. Or, a travel company might only want to target audiences watching travel documentaries. Metadata allows AVOD platforms to match paid advertisements to their most relevant and receptive audiences.

Optimizing the User Experience

Optimizing the user experience in OTT video streaming means connecting users with valuable content that matches their interests, keeping them watching and engaged. 

Implementing OTT metadata enhances the user experience by making content more searchable, content recommendations more accurate, and advertisements more personalized and relevant for users.

Maximize the Value of Content Assets

The broader goal of implementing OTT content metadata is to monetize video content assets as effectively as possible. 

By delivering more accurate recommendations and making content easier to find, video platforms increase their chances of keeping customers engaged and avoiding churn. Plus, video platforms that use metadata for ad targeting can charge advertisers more for highly targeted placements that are more likely to drive successful conversions.

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3 Ways to Effectively Manage OTT Content Metadata

Video streaming platforms capture, store, and maintain many different kinds of data, covering everything from audience viewing habits to user and payment information, content performance, and OTT content metadata. 

Platforms can leverage this data across a variety of use cases, but doing so will require them to stay organized by implementing strong metadata management strategies.

To help out, we’re offering three of our best tips for managing OTT content metadata.

1) Invest Time in Tagging Content with Metadata

Before you can benefit from using metadata, you’ll need to invest some time up-front to tag your content. The more relevant details you can provide about each piece of content, the better you’ll be able to monetize that content on your video streaming platform. 

2) Aggregate Metadata in a Single Platform

If you’re a content owner who licenses content to multiple OTT platforms, we recommend aggregating your content metadata in a single centralized location. Centralizing your metadata means that you’ll be able to run analytics on all of your data at once without missing anything important.

3) Normalize Metadata with Artificial Intelligence

Managing content metadata can be confusing for content owners licensing their data to multiple video streaming platforms with different content IDs and non-standardized metadata requirements. To simplify things, content owners can depend on software solutions like Revedia Digital that use artificial intelligence to automate the process of normalizing metadata from multiple platforms for analytics applications.

Manage Your OTT Content Metadata with SymphonyAI Media

When fully implemented, OTT metadata contains valuable information about every video on a platform, leading to enhanced content discovery and more relevant recommendations.

With the Revedia Digital platform from SymphonyAI Media, content owners licensing their assets to multiple streaming providers can aggregate metadata in a single centralized location, auto-normalize the data using artificial intelligence, and run queries against the data to support use cases like content recommendations and enhanced discoverability.