Viewers have voted with their mouse-clicks and the results are in: Over the Top (OTT) access to TV content is no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have.” That is driving the media & entertainment business online at unprecedented speed. Cisco predicts that, by 2021, the Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) that carry most OTT content will handle 71% of all internet traffic, and that 80% of that traffic will be video.
The challenge for content owners and their service providers is two-fold. Today’s approach to preparing on-air content for OTT is slow and labour-intensive, which means that it is also costly. There is also a revenue gap. Advertising-supported programming is expected to contribute a rising share of all OTT revenue but OTT advertising is currently pennies on the dollar, pound or euro compared with linear TV. Fortunately, both problems have the same solution: metadata.
Don’t send a human to do a machine’s job
Properly used, the SCTE metadata framework already implemented for broadcast video can automate the transcoding of on-air content to OTT. It takes sophisticated processing and access to multiple data sources, from the playout system to production and traffic databases. The payoff for content owners, however, is big.
As any content provider knows, the first hour after an episode is aired online generates the largest amount of traffic on OTT with consumers who missed the live airing looking to watch. If the content isn’t up in this time frame then the likelihood is that the viewers will move onto other content and forget to return within the 72 hour Nielson window, that allows for providers to continue to count their viewings over the course of the window. However, if metadata is entered correctly, content providers can automate that process, reducing the time it takes to get content online to a matter of minutes, helping to greatly increase those ratings.
The advertising pot of gold
Automation does more than save time: it helps you find the proverbial pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. By utilizing metadata, advertisers can generate value like never before. With metadata, we can enable ad insertion that is tailored to the consumer. Although OTT is provided across the globe, metadata is capable of personalizing ad insertion like no other platform, based on a number of factors, such as geographic location and personal preferences. Is your viewer a basketball fan? They will only be offered adverts and personalized content tailored to this. No-one wants to see adverts for pet insurance when they don’t have pets, or for basketball when they are a major football fan. This generates a higher percentage of engagement with advertisements, and makes your selling of adverts that much easier. Therefore, the monetization of adverts is simplified and enhanced.
The value of metadata to OTT is undeniable. For those content owners looking to compete in the overwhelming OTT market, an ability to reduce costs, shorten time-to-market and unleash the potential for revenue by developing personalized ad inserts and personalized content, is of irrefutable value. OTT distribution is now a mainstream expectation. It is ironic how often this digital product is produced by manual labour today. Isn’t it time to bring production and distribution into the digital age?