Metadata and Interactive Media Ads Take the Stage at Metadata Madness

By Chris Tribbey

Metadata has become an absolutely crucial part of the media and entertainment ecosystem, and interactive advertising is no different.

Why metadata is important in today’s digital ad environment and the standards making sense of the information attached to ad content will be one of the top topics at the March 16 “Metadata Madness, the Media & Entertainment Interoperability Summit” at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York City.

Harold Geller, chief growth officer for Advertising Digital Identification (Ad-ID), will lead the panel “Metadata’s Impact on Interactive Media & Advertising,” which will specifically look at Video Ad Serving Template (VAST), the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) standard for structuring ad tags that serve ads to video players.

IAB has released VAST 4.0 (which first debuted in 2008), the latest version of the standard, which tackles some of the challenges earlier iterations of the standard were lacking, including: giving publishers and ad vendors a way to separate video files from their interactive components, ensuring ads play in systems that can’t handle the interactive components; better quality control for players that aren’t programmed to handle IAB Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID); and the requirement of Ad-ID identifiers for VAST.

“VAST 2.0 has been out in the marketplace and it really served as a key to add video interoperability, and 3.0 was more of a step upgrade,” said Mike McLeod, senior manager of advertising technology and products for PGA Tour Digital, and part of IAB’s Technical Standards Working Group. “With 4.0, a lot of what the working group was looking at doing was looking at the needs of long form video that is being delivered to a variety of devices through IP protocol.

“We took a step back to see how it’s being delivered, what will traditional broadcasters expect as it’s becoming irrelevant whether long-form video is TV or OTT. It’s just video delivered to the best possible screen you have. The working group members looked at what works in the TV world, and how basically cross devices, cross screen with traditional television could be accounted for.”

He also pointed out that VAST 4.0 enables server-side ad insertion, and along with support for including a mezzanine file, the upgraded standard provides guidance on offering three, ready-to-serve video files, ensuring that a linear video ad will always play.

The standard also includes new ad categories to help publishers separate competing ads (say, Coke and Pepsi ads), and includes new error codes and a standardized time stamp that’s consistent.

“A lot of focus for 4.0 was on being able to support server-side ad insertion, and this update should help, from a metadata point of view,” said Amit Shetty, director of product for video and audio for the IAB Tech Lab. “It’s a very big step forward.”

Along with Shetty, panelists on the topic at the Metadata Madness event include Tony Gill, global director of library science and information management for Wunderman Production and Mitchell Weinstein, SVP and director of ad operations for IPG Mediabrands.

The half-day event will also feature a keynote address on the challenges of data in linear TV; a presentation by Christy King, strategic consultant for MESA, on “Data Scale and the Broadcaster”; and panels on “The Business of Analysis,” “ATSC 3.0: What Is It and What Does It Mean?” and more. Sally Hubbard, VP of enterprise metadata management for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), will also be on hand for the presentation “Governance and a Good Data Blueprint.”

“Metadata Madness, the Media & Entertainment Interoperability Summit” is sponsored by Microsoft, GrayMeta, MarkLogic, Rovi, FuriousM, and Prime Focus Technologies, with Ad-ID, EIDR, the Smart Content Council and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) serving as association partners.

For registration or more information, click here. For sponsorship information, please contact Garrett Randall at [email protected].