BBC Worldwide: “Second-screen services could be enhanced with temporal metadata”

Robin Boldon, BBC Worldwide

Robin Boldon, BBC Worldwide

Robin Boldon, Director of Digital Distribution at BBC Worldwide, on the dominant forms of metadata in Digital Asset Management, the impact he is seeing of Material eXchange Format, and the need for metadata standardisation.

Do you believe there will be a dominant form of metadata in DAM?

At present we are seeing significant demand for synopses tailored to a client’s platform. Additionally, closed captions and ratings information are becoming mandatory for certain territories.

Moving forward, I can see that temporal metadata (information that is synchronous to the picture or audio) is going to drive new consumer opportunities.

For example, facial recognition or phonetic indexing could offer automated ways to generate keyword cue points (e.g. iTunes Extras etc), all value-add metadata elements. Optimum ad break placement, compliance or ratings information can be highlighted right on the timeline.

Deliveries from content suppliers could have a QC report baked into the metadata payload, verifying package integrity, reducing the rejections from archive sources and speeding up the delivery to market.

What is the impact that you have seen of Material eXchange Format (MXF)?

From BBC Worldwide’s perspective, MXF has been a delivery format requested almost exclusively by broadcast customers. With developments such as the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) delivery specification based on AS-11 we may see wider adoption of MXF type containers in the wider marketplace.

There are distinct advantages to packaged deliveries. Essence, ancillaries and metadata can be bundled together. As a distributor, this fits really well with our “kit of parts” philosophy we adopt to ensure our customers get exactly what they need to maximise the content licensed from us.

How can broadcasters manipulate the impact of metadata?

Removing duplicate assets and effort in workflows can have a significant impact on the operating expense for broadcasters. By harnessing a sound structure to metadata management, it is possible to identify duplicates and maximise the reuse of content.

Additionally, broadcaster second-screen services could be enhanced with temporal metadata to synchronise events

Is metadata standardisation needed to get to the next stage of DAM?

Typically at BBC Worldwide we are led by client requirements. It is digital platform customers who have the most advanced metadata specifications; these tend to be proprietary rather than common (e.g. TV Anytime, Cable Labs etc).

Our metadata repository has been developed around a composite of these requirements as well as our own data set and the BBC’s editorial guidelines. We are primarily concerned with consolidating the disparate sources of metadata within the company to provide a single view that can be used to service each client delivery.

Adoption of internationally recognised unique content identifiers (e.g. EIDR/ISAN) is currently being investigated. They could help to track compliance with license agreements and could aid the correct reporting to collection agencies etc.

Robin will be speaking at the Digital Asset Management World Summit event taking place in Amsterdam on 23-24 October. For more information and to register, please visit

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