A major television network with 200 Unique Series with 900+ seasons containing 18,100 episodes – wanted to jump-start global distribution in 47 territories and needed their extensive title catalog to be age-rated for their new digital distribution. They faced a large distribution challenge – how to secure local age ratings on a very high volume of legacy, aired and original content. From our massive metadata store Spherex discovered that
70% of their library titles not aired – had reliable ratings in our Spherex metadata database.
84% of their titles currently airing – could be rated from reliable Spherex sources and our Spherex metadata.
2% of their titles were original content and required screenings and new ratings issued for the 47 target territories
Our Spherexratings team provided a one-stop-shop for securing ratings for the network’s entire catalog with an ETA of less than 6 weeks. Our title ratings analysis provided actionable insights in just a few days – that let our client understand incremental expenses for their global distribution.
The media and entertainment (M&E) division of V2 Solutions has been spun off into a new M&E company named Spherex, led by CEO and founder Teresa Phillips, and the new company is “creating a new category: the first digital market network for the M&E industry,” according to Jim Delli Santi, its VP of marketing.
“We named it Spherex because our metadata and merchandising platform provides an unparalleled 360 degree view of titles across digital stores around the globe,” he told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) Dec. 19.
“Our mission is to connect global storytellers with digital stores and their local audiences worldwide,” he said, adding the company’s artificial intelligence- (AI-) assisted market network “acts like a smart merchandising assistant, monitoring and notifying you of metadata issues for titles across global” over-the-top (OTT) and multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) platforms.
In the process, Spherex will help customers “understand and react to changing market conditions and discover new market opportunities,” he said, explaining: “The large industry problem we are solving touches every aspect of today’s inefficient digital supply chain — but then extends this value from problem solving to creating an entirely new way to market and merchandise digital titles globally.”
The company has seen from the “significant technology investments” it’s made that “the existing supply chain — how we’ve always done things — won’t scale and is starting to buckle under current and projected OTT growth,” according to Phillips.
Explaining how V2 evolved into Spherex, she said: “A couple of years ago, we began thinking about the digital supply chain as circular workflows rather than linear processes. And the result is Spherex — our solution to the core M&E pain points. Spherex’s matching IDs and controlled metadata across Product, Avails and Stores solves for today’s store compliance issues such as availability, pricing, metadata and artwork.”
The company’s solution also tracks price changes and promotions across storefronts, she pointed out.
“But this is just the beginning,” she said, adding the Spherex platform “now allows retailers, who know their customers best,” and content providers, “who know their products best, to communicate back and forth through common data translations and structures.”
That allows each to “do what they do best, while providing an infrastructure to increase updates transactional velocity end-to-end,” she said, explaining: “This new, always-on connectivity lets both benefit from marketing activities such as smart distribution or dynamic pricing and solves for what we all ultimately want: Letting customers find the right content at the right time as a sea of new content washes over the globe. We’ve built workflow and utility underneath our platform and analytics on top to enable smart distribution decisions and continuous translation and flow of metadata and content.”
For more information – See https://www.mesalliance.org/2018/12/20/v2-solutions-me-division-spins-off-into-spherex/
In launching our new global title expansion platform – we are thrilled to be able to deliver industry insights to you about the changing global media landscape in our four business blogs on Local Age Ratings, Global Title Monitoring and Global Title Metadata. We look forward to discussing major industry trends and developments with you.
If there is one meaningful insight we took away from Mipcom 2018 – it is that the creative economy is fast converging with the platform economy and a sea of content is about to wash over the globe. This mega-convergence is creating market forces that are pressuring today’s siloed metadata and linear workflows to become more open and fluid, requiring new levels of global visibility and control to monetize content better.
A Content Tsunami
Mipcom events clearly indicated continuing growth in digital platforms is happening at an incredible pace. 2018 Keynote Speaker and ITV CEO, Carolyn McCall, announced ITV’s Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) service launching by year end in the UK while a host of new DTC services are targeting domestic audiences residing in other countries such as Cinedigm’s new OTT channel offering Chinese film and television content to North American audiences. More than a few content-hungry video platforms were presenting as well. Huawei’s Director of Content Cooperation Jian Ju announced the expansion of their global mobile video network connecting content partners in seven countries to audiences worldwide. Mr. Ju said Huawei is looking to expand its content network from 200 content partners today to over 1,000 by 2022.
The platform growth is driving explosive content and revenue growth. Juniper Research now forecasts worldwide OTT video revenues will double from $64 billion this year to $120 billion in 2022 with SVOD services fueling this growth. The Economist recently reported a Goldman Sachs analysis that Netflix will surpass its 2018 content budget of $8 billion to spend between $12 to $13 billion by year-end. Content budgets are exploding as multinational content attempts to meet insatiable demand across too-numerous-to-name smart connected devices, access methods and formats offered through overlapping pricing models – FVOD, AVOD, TVOD, and SVOD.
A Metadata Perfect Storm
It’s not entirely clear how the management of content metadata can keep up when the number of titles requiring marketing and distribution is growing exponentially. IndieWire reports that while Disney and Warner Bros. expect to release 10 and 23 films respectively in 2018, Netflix is expected to release north of 82 films while producing or acquiring 700 new programs, many of which are being produced in multiple countries. Multiply anticipated releases by the number of studios, platforms, devices, and OTT services, and what results is a historically all-time high volume of multinational content and a near-perfect storm for the supply chain processes required to create and manage title metadata.
If one considers the metadata changes required to manage title, price, synopsis, language and artwork across windows, storefronts, devices and formats (SD, HD, 4k and now 8K/UHD previewed at Mipcom) – the sheer volume of global updates to be managed will cause sensory overload.
Billions of Metadata Variations
As a service provider to the media and entertainment industry – we believe that the value chain operators best qualified to author metadata who will convince an audience to watch their content – are the content providers themselves. A title’s discoverability within retail storefronts is directly dependent on the quality of its metadata, yet the creation of this metadata is a less than desirable task for most studios – and is often left to downstream operators including distributors, post-houses, aggregators and other types of service providers.
The metadata variations of the million global titles we track illustrate these points very well. Our algorithms processing historical title metadata yield over two billion metadata variations across title, synopsis, genre and the names of actors, actresses, producers, and directors. We’ve seen the number of synopsis versions that exist for a single popular title range from five to as high as thirty to forty variations across global storefronts. Although we find film run-time to be reasonably consistent across storefronts, something as basic and essential as film genre can have ten or more variations between first and second level genre categories (Action/Adventure vs. Sci-fi/Fantasy vs. Action Sci-fi). The names of studios that own the rights to distribute the content also have problematic variations while the names of actors and directors can be abbreviated multiple times, in numerous different ways across retail platforms.
Recent initiatives by the EIDR coalition are a much-needed effort to standardize metadata to accurately track and manage content titles end-to-end through the business systems used to license, distribute, localize, market and calculate/distribute revenue and royalties. We fully support EIDR because we believe content metadata should not be siloed and should be free – dynamically flowing through these business systems to increase content transactional velocity, fix revenue leakages and create new sales opportunities.
However, to tap these exciting new revenue opportunities, we also believe content creators, and marketers need the ability to track, measure and adapt storefront metadata to the preferences of their global audiences who are accessing their content through an ever-increasing number of channels, platforms, and devices. Given the volume of multinational content coming our way as the creative and platform economies merge, we believe a new approach for managing and calibrating film and television metadata for global audiences is required now. A reimagined digital supply chain is needed to provide an entirely new level of metadata fluidity, visibility, and control across platforms, devices, formats, languages, and geographies – so that the opportunity to improve content monetization looks as bright as the creativity and platforms making all of this content growth possible.
Carolyn announced the launch of ITV’s direct to consumer channel in her keynote talk at Mipcom. As a CEO making the switch from the airline industry to the media and entertainment industry – Carolyn offered one core message for the Mipcom audience – which is a foundational belief we also have at Spherex. It drives us to create the world’s first digital market network.
“ When I ran an airline, it was all about safety”
“Running ITV – it’s all about speed”
Carolyn McCall – Mipcom Keynote
October 15, 2018
Check out her exciting Mipcom Keynote talk on YouTube.