Home Business Software Ooyala uses Azure to help video metadata generation

Ooyala uses Azure to help video metadata generation

Ooyala's Integrated Video Platform (IVP) is designed to reduce the cost and maximise the revenue when publishing video content.

Among its components, Flex speeds content production and media logistics; Backlot takes care of video content management, syndication, content protection and playback; Pulse handles ads; IQ provides real-time content performance and viewer engagement reporting; and Discovery is the recommendation engine.

Generating metadata for video content can be a chore, Ooyala senior director of business development Andrew Spaulding told iTWire.

So Flex takes advantage of Microsoft's Cognitive Services platform and Video Indexer to generate and enrich the metadata. Capabilities include face recognition, topic generation, sentiment analysis, speech-to-text, and transcript translation. The resulting metadata supports rich content search and discoverability, increases viewer engagement, and allows more targeted and contextual video advertising.

For example, if face detection reveals the presence of Roger Federer in a particular clip, that might trigger a Rolex ad. Or an insurance ad might be inserted after a fearful scene in a movie. Such highly-targeted advertising can command premium rates.

Good quality metadata can even save money, as it makes it easier to locate and reuse existing footage instead of re-shooting.

The analytics provided by IQ can provide useful insights. For example, it might show that almost everyone has stopped watching your videos by the 15-minute point, which provides a pretty strong clue about the optimum length.

A more subtle situation was revealed to a TV news operator using the software. It originally included a bumper at the end of each clip, but IQ showed that viewers were stopping playback when the bumper appeared. By removing the bumpers, more people reached the end of the clip and therefore saw and responded to the recommendations for other videos. The more videos people watch, the more ads they see, increasing revenue for the provider.

Furthermore, the detailed metadata automatically generated by Flex makes it easier to recommend other clips that the viewer is likely to watch.

The Ooyala IVP is used in Australia by organisations of widely varying sizes, from two-person firms that produce and manage video for clients, through medium-sized operations such as Australian Ballet, CPA Australia and Racing Victoria, to big names such as the Department of Defence and Ooyala's parent company Telstra. Customers normally use more than one component of the suite, and spend anything from $20,000 upwards on the software and services.

One of Ooyala's claims to fame is that it is the only video platform that can play streams live into Facebook. A local user of this capability is the NRL's Cronulla Sharks, which presents a weekly live show on Facebook.

"As a global provider of video monetisation software and services, we are constantly looking for technologies that would help us provide more value to our customers," said Ooyala chief executive Jonathan Huberman.

"With Azure and Microsoft's AI technologies for processing video, we were really impressed with the combination of easy-to-use, yet powerful, AI services for videos. The integrations we have built between Video Indexer and our products will help our customers enhance content discovery and captioning as well as deliver targeted advertising based on the extracted metadata – a win-win for our customers and their viewers."

Ooyala expects to integrate additional Microsoft services as they appear, Spaulding said.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.