Metadata matters.

Everyone’s heard the old adage “time is money” and, in the case of metadata, it’s true. When the real money is found not in the end-product but the right to monetize it, knowing what you can and can’t deliver to the masses is key.

In today’s stream-heavy industry, it’s important that your company is up-to-date (by the minute, not the month) on what assets you can monetize right now. Otherwise, you’re simply leaving money on the table.

Up until this point, many companies have treated digital rights management as a back-benched administrative task and not a strategic initiative. And unfortunately, that’s starting to show.

But being behind doesn’t mean that all is lost. It’s time to get your portfolio back in order and up-to-date so content that has traditionally been sitting on the figurative shelf gathering dust can be put into play, delivered to the end consumer and start bringing in cash flow.

And that process starts with your metadata.

What is metadata and why do we care?

Metadata is data about data. In the realm of sexy business topics, it’s pretty much the lowest of the low. But what it lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in extreme importance.

Metadata helps your systems (and you by extension) identify and differentiate different pieces of data or assets. Specific fields of metadata can be used to indicate the availability, contracts, license, agreements, and a whole host of other important information in a matter of moments.

Without well-curated and organized metadata, the data that you have on-hand (and all of the end products that data belongs to) mean next to nothing. Now, that sounds a little dramatic, so let’s talk about how metadata works:

Let’s say over the past 10 years you’ve taken a photo of every business card that’s been given to you and stored it in a single folder without changing a thing about it. You’ve left the standard “IMG_5929” title on it and made no notes in the file’s properties before throwing it haphazardly into your digital folder.

Today, you open the folder because you want to find a card you received three or four years ago, you think. You know the person’s first name is John and they work for a company with “power” somewhere in the name. But that’s it.

When you open this folder you realize that you have uploaded 7,621 images (you’re clearly super popular at all of the conferences). How do you find the image of the right business card knowing that you’ve added no differentiating metadata?

…by manually look at all of them. You might be able to speed this process up a bit by narrowing down the date, but at the end of the day you’re still manually checking photos for the right card.

Rights metadata

Most of us have experienced trying to find something we know we have, but coming up empty because it’s nowhere to be found.

That’s because the majority of us don’t properly use our metadata. And when we do it’s often not standardized. But creating good standardized metadata is imperative to your rights management strategy.

Standardized metadata can…

Indicate whether or not an asset is available to be put into play
Identify different obligations and agreements that are in place and need to be honored
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Metadata is as important as the data it points to because without it locating an asset (and the important information pertaining to that particular asset) is really hard. You’ll end up spending time (read: money) tracking it all down.

What does poor metadata risk?

Most companies have poor metadata strategies in place (if they have them at all). Key data indicators lack consistency, which means that most of the metadata that’s captured isn’t very useful.

But metadata truly is key in the success of digital rights management, and digital rights management is key in the success of media and entertainment companies in 2021 (and beyond). It stands to reason that without proper metadata management, companies will be facing serious consequences.

The biggest risks of having poor metadata are:

Lost intellectual property: if you can’t find it, does it really exists?
Lost financial opportunity: having assets on the shelf collecting dust is not making you money.
Legal consequences: misusing content is literally criminal.
Reputation hits and loss of customer trust: Legal cases resulting from the misuse of content is just plain bad for the brand.
Having bad metadata is a risk that companies are actively taking every day.

Managing your metadata

The assets that you have took time, money and hard work to create, it makes no sense to let them sit on the table unused. And it costs you more money to track each one down manually.

Metadata isn’t simply more data, it’s strategic data.

The way that consumers access assets is changing which means that the way we manage that same data needs to change. Properly managing what you already have with a centralized system that uses organized metadata standards that help you improve your overall and make more money, just makes sense.

If you’re struggling to organize your data, now is the time to upgrade your system. Touch base with us here at Rightline and together we can put together something that works for you.