Ooyala Exec: AI, Blockchain, Metadata to Become Increasingly Significant for Video Industry

Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, metadata and — despite ongoing challenges — virtual reality (VR) are going to play increasingly significant roles in the video sector, according to Paula Minardi, head of content strategy at Ooyala.

Broadcasters are “starting to go all in on IP technologies and metadata in every area of video,” she said Feb. 6, during a webinar on the “State of the Broadcast Industry 2018.” Most of the executives who participated in a 2017 Pay TV Innovation Forum survey indicated that they believed data and analytics would be “crucial to pay TV’s direction over the next five years,” she said.

The “proliferation of sophisticated metadata” has also “powered the growth” of AI, she said. Minardi predicted AI is “going to take off really in 2018 thanks to its ability to add value to every part of the video chain, including automating metadata to capture for search, content creation and monetization.”

She went on to predict that blockchain technology will have a “more prominent role in video going forward by harnessing metadata to create more transparent, secure and unalterable systems.”

Metadata is “critical” and was already the “star” at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam in 2017 and “it’s likely going to play a similar role” at NAB in Las Vegas, April 7-12, Jim O’Neill, strategic media consultant and principal analyst at Ooyala, said on the webinar. “As content libraries continue to expand, metadata will be used to add value and to preserve the value of assets,” he said, adding metadata “makes content smart and that makes everyone’s lives a lot easier.”

As the broadcast industry steps into what Minardi called an “OTT 2.0” era, it’s passed the “tipping point” on many over-the-top consumption fronts, she said.

Most content on every screen is now long-form and mobile accounts for almost 60% of global digital video plays, she noted, adding the industry is also nearing the content tipping point. On the latter front, she cited data from Ooyala’s recent State of the Broadcast Industry 2018 report that showed 49% of respondents thought there were now too many TV programs to choose from.

Although a growing number of consumers continue to cut the cord with their traditional TV service providers, many of those who have turned to OTT services are frustrated with the experience provided and that will drive major changes in 2018, according to the report.

The video industry has been “gearing up for advances like 5G that will enable greater adoption of more robust video,” Minardi also said during the webinar. That will “propel higher resolution formats beyond 4K” – namely 8K – as well as immersive video including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), she said.

VR is “still battling issues over lukewarm reception to headsets due to things like cost, lack of quality content yet and really a plain lack of interest in them,” she said. But one of every three global consumers are expected to use VR by 2020, she noted, citing an Ericsson Consumer Lab study.

She predicted that the issues holding back VR will be “sorted out” and the technology will get a boost from the Olympics, starting with the Winter Games Feb. 9-25. After all, NBC said it will offer more than 50 hours of live VR coverage of the games.