Smart Content West: Metadata Gurus Share State of Standards

LOS ANGELES — When it comes to metadata and the standards around it for the media and entertainment industry, 2018 could mark a major sea-change for the industry, according to Kip Welch, VP of MovieLabs and president of Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR).

“We look at 2018 as a year of adoption,” he said, speaking Feb. 27 at the Smart Content Summit West Metadata Madness luncheon, which saw five speakers from different industry groups, all working on better ways to manage metadata in the content business..

After being around for nearly a decade, look for a major redesign and upgrade to the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) in 2018, with more workflows supported, ubiquitous coverage for the digital distribution ecosystem, and support for time-critical workflows.

“We’re going to make it more powerful, more intelligent, a more useful tool,” he said.

With all the new formats associated with content today — 4K, HDR, next-gen audio specs and more — the challenge is greater than ever, and only promises to become more challenging, said Eric Hanson, Vice President, Industry Leadership, Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA). “Getting all this together at the same time, in the same place, at the right time, is hard, still,” he said. “Metadata about the content is so important to remedy this.”
To help tackle the industry’s metadata challenges, EMA is working on multiple fronts, including avails, SVOD rights communications, and QC nomenclature.

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group is doing the same, according to Christopher Stefanidis, co-chair of the DEG’s technology and operations committee. His group is working with EMA on getting more content providers to adopt the EMA avails standard, with a bigger push in 2018 for more TV players to be adopters.

The Entertainment Technology Center @ USC (ETC) has long been a player in advancing standards for metadata, from its work in digital cinema, the debut of the Interoperable Mastering Format (IMF), and the push of the Cinema Content Creation Cloud (C4) standard. For Seth Levenson, project director of the cloud at ETC@USC, the biggest win of late was C4 becoming a SMPTE spec in 2017, and companies like Western Digital, Technicolor and PixSystems all looking at auto-generating C4 IDs as part of their services.

For 2018, ETC is working on a production data project with MovieLabs, one that would inventory all the data associated with the lifecycle of a production. “In the coming years, production is going to be in a constant state of change,” Levenson said.

Harold Geller, executive director of Ad-ID, shared that as of Feb. 1, there had been more than 2.72 million Ad-ID codes served , with more than 3,800 advertisers using Ad-ID. But challenges still remain: the lack of common standards being used by digital distributors continues to see viewers of content seeing the same ad on repeat (sometimes more than twice in a row), which defeats the purpose of smart ad distribution. “It’s an identification problem, an interoperability problem,” Geller said.

Produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), in association with the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) and the Smart Content Council, Smart Content West was sponsored by Amazon Web Services, MicroStrategy, NeuLion, MarkLogic, SAP, Bob Gold & Associates, Ad-ID, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, and the Entertainment Merchants Association.

On March 8, MESA will hold its Smart Content Summit East event in New York City. To register or for more information, click here.