In an effort to help cable operators transition from its VOD Metadata 1.1 specification to its VOD Metadata 2.0 specification, CableLabs has licensed a software product from This Technology. (To read the initial announcement, click here.)

One difficulty with delivering VOD content is dealing with asset metadata. The content for each VOD title is bundled with metadata, which describes titles, trailers, associated advertisements, guide information and billing information.

Traditionally, these metadata are "baked in" with the VOD title. But individual operators often need to customize some of this metadata. To do so, they have had to create costly and time-consuming asset management systems.

For an expert analysis of VOD content and metadata delivery, click here to read Michael Adams’ February CT column.

"The CableLabs VOD 2.0 specification enables extensible metadata for multiple platforms and applications, including IP based distribution," said CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown in a statement. "The adoption of VOD 2.0 has been slow due to the lack of a transition tool."

To help move the process along, and especially the advertising part of the equation, CableLabs has purchased This Technology’s MetaMore product to demonstrate the transition from its VOD Metadata 1.1 specification to its 2.0 spec.

Challenges

"It’s been a bit of a challenge to get 2.0 fully adopted because the specs are so different," said Jeff Sherwin, president of This Technology. "There was never really a transition plan for managing the migration from 1.1 to 2.0. MetaMore can automatically translate from 1.1 to 2.0."

Sherwin said his company saw a need for metadata that was separated from the video content. "For the stakeholders, it gives a lot of interesting control over supply of advertising space … to dynamically manage the amount of ad space in the content itself," he said.

Advanced advertising requires customized ad space and a way to communicate to those who sell the ads, insert the ads, and measure and bill for the ads. "You don’t want to specify that kind of information for every single VOD that you have," said Sherwin. "We give operators the ability to author and modify and publish all the metadata around the video assets."

As far as VOD Metadata 2.0 working in conjunction with SCTE 130, Sherwin said: "SCTE 130 provides a Web service backend for making decisions and inserting ads into content streams. SCTE 130 can generically describe any content metadata model, and VOD 2.0 is one such content model that it describes."

Asked if any systems were using the VOD Metadata 2.0 spec, Sherwin said, "I think there are pockets where VOD 2.0 is being tested and used, but this announcement really marks the beginning of a real operational way of transitioning the industry."

He said This Technology’s MetaMore software is in lab trials with several top-tier MSOs.

– Linda Hardesty

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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