April 12, 2017

Three Core Functions of a Content Intelligence System

tad-ro-headshotBy Tad Ro, Director of Product, Verizon Digital Media Services

 

It’s no secret that the video content pipeline today is highly fragmented and dysfunctional. A big part of the problem is that studio networks and content creators’ content management and distribution workflows have traditionally been developed in disparate silos. It’s hard to optimize the media production cycle when pre- and post-production management relies on clunky, manually inputted spreadsheets and legacy media workflows that predate the rise of digital media and OTT. The rich metadata from online content also gets siloed on the distribution side. Without information about the content management systems, streaming apps, ad monetization and analytics platforms, the people handling production don’t know where their content goes, how it’s being used, how it’s performing, who’s watching it, and ultimately its true value. This results in operational inefficiencies, poor insights, additional production costs and delays in launching content. To bring production up-to-date with how video content is managed, distributed and syndicated now, a more integrated end-to-end solution is necessary — a “Content Intelligence System,” as we call it here at Verizon Digital Media Services. Here are three core functions that a content intelligence system must have to be successful.

1. Integrate metadata and analytics into the media production and distribution cycle
Today, metadata usually isn’t added to a content asset until the final cut is finished. This means  post-production teams and editorial staff don’t normally have access to metadata for any content used earlier in trailers, social media, marketing or promo spots. By operating this way, studios and broadcasters lose a great deal of invaluable metadata about their content. Not using data to inform important production and marketing decisions is a huge missed opportunity. For example, when a production staffer knows that a particular promotional clip got excellent engagement on social media, they make sure to include it in a trailer or even decide to include more scenes with that clip’s featured character in the final cut of a movie. More data leads to the creation of “stickier,” more engaging video content and the best use of marketing dollars. Collecting more metadata also facilitates more profitable and personalized experiences for OTT viewers. For instance, by having ads targeted to products that actually appear in a show (which we know are there because the metadata was collected early) and tracking this in one cohesive content intelligence system.

Of course, it’s extremely difficult to aggregate data on content assets that appear in hundreds of different places across multiple content management platforms and systems. But, by recording metadata and integrating analytics at the asset level, you create a master data record for all content as the source of truth. This allows content publishers to view detailed performance and engagement analytics, not just for a particular asset, but also for any and all derivatives from that asset however used or wherever viewed. Importantly, metadata and analytics from any derivatives tie back to the original asset. Instead of simply having a collection of raw video files that have yet to take their final finished form, production teams have a content inventory where the uses and potential value of every single asset is known. We estimate that with this additional visibility into the content life cycle, studios, broadcasters and content creators see costs savings in the range of 60-70 percent on expenses related to media production and marketing.

2. Streamline and automate workflows
A streamlined, integrated workflow engine brings additional gains in efficiency by automating labor intensive tasks that are often handled manually. Production teams and editorial staff spend a lot of time updating cumbersome spreadsheets and less time applying insights around revenue, costs, distribution, engagement and performance to optimize their content production process.Workflow integration also helps content creators plan out and prepare for video content production ahead of time. For example, content providers can set up the metadata structure of an ongoing series well in advance for content planning of a new season, using asset records as placeholders before the final content is brought into the system to be managed.

3. Incorporate modular solutions that work for many different types of content creators
One key characteristic of the media landscape today is its diversity. Large media providers with massive libraries of existing content co-exist with young, agile content creators and upstarts producing new videos on a shoestring. One thing is for sure, each media company has a different content management and distribution ecosystem, which means a comprehensive, end-to-end content intelligence system must be flexible and modular enough to serve the different needs of both these groups and those in between.

For instance, most large media providers, like national broadcasters and studios, have already invested in the online streaming business. They have custom apps built specifically for their OTT-branded service, subscription and billing systems that support their customers. Compare this to newer content creators whose smaller teams may lack the budget, resources and technology know-how to launch and manage an online streaming service themselves. A key feature for a truly modular content intelligence system is one that has the flexibility to integrate fully with a content provider’s existing OTT infrastructure. Larger media providers may have more needs for an upstream component, like content supply chain management and workflow automation, to manage the vast library of content assets. Smaller content creators may need more downstream components, like user-facing streaming device apps and supporting syndication modules, to help launch and monetize their online streaming service.

Verizon Digital Media Services’ Media Xperience Studio service is our Content Intelligence System. It provides enough flexibility to accommodate a wide diversity of content creators so they can streamline a patchwork of workflows and remove disparate, manual operations. The enormous gains and efficiencies Media Xperience Studio provides will lead to more informed decisions about how content is made, where it goes and who’s watching it. Media Xperience Studio simply helps content creators run their services more intelligently.

Contact us for a demo of Media Xperience Studio today.