Metadata for live versioning: What it is and how to use it

October 31, 2023

When you wanted to watch sports in the past, you used to simply sit down, turn on your TV, and tune in to a single channel. Many sports fans are likely glad those days are over. Yet as options for live sports broadcasting explode, audiences and licensing agreements are more fragmented than ever. Rights holders, leagues, and teams are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves, improve efficiency, and monetize their content. Metadata for live versioning could be the key.

Metadata for live versioning in action

What is metadata for live versioning?

In live versioning, metadata often refers not to static information like that described above, but to metadata signaling, or “timed” metadata. While static file metadata is information provided about an entire video, metadata for live versioning indicates the start or end of an event within a file, like:

  • The start of a new quarter, inning, or period within a live sports event, so that a viewer can skip directly to their desired point in time

  • A commercial or advertising break

  • A point at which you want to measure something for reporting

Live metadata tags can also be used to indicate when to change the parameters of a file to make something happen, like:

  • Preventing a commercial from being skipped

  • Overlaying a video with a banner

  • Making a video clickable

Opportunities for metadata in live versioning

The use of metadata in live versioning is just getting started, and there are plenty of opportunities for rights holders to leverage this technology to monetize their content.

Video metadata extractors

The goal of video metadata extraction is to automatically identify what’s happening in a video, without having to manually sift through the file. It’s useful in order to flag content that might be inappropriate for certain age groups, like violence, but it’s also being used for sporting events.

For example, when paired with machine learning, video metadata extractors can assess crowd reactions to identify important moments and automatically create a highlight reel. It could also be used to identify the best places to insert advertisements or to create content recommendations.

Market-specific content switching

Increased audience fragmentation — and the rising expectations of customers — are top challenges for live sports distribution. When content can be distributed to any device, anywhere in the world, proper metadata management of copyright and licensing information becomes especially important.

Rules-based engines that communicate rights metadata and automatically perform content switching for regionalization and blackouts can help create a seamless viewer experience while protecting rights holders.


Beyond market-specific rights, metadata for live versioning has the potential to customize content in numerous ways. Contextual file metadata that provides deeper information, like which athlete is on screen at a given moment or a product that’s being shown, provides opportunities to enhance the viewing experience. And, video workflows that are fully decorated with metadata can make more intelligent decisions about which ads to show to a given audience while also applying the advertiser’s rules.

Dynamic ad insertion: The next frontier for video metadata

There’s no question that video metadata has massive potential to create a more interactive, personalized live sports viewing experience. In terms of metadata for live versioning, the most exciting development may be dynamic ad insertion. This technology lets leagues, teams, and rights holders deliver incredibly targeted advertising to households, devices, and even individual users who are watching the same linear content.

Let’s say that you have someone who loves coffee and is watching the Rose Bowl from New York on a streaming device. Another viewer loves beer and is watching from Florida on a laptop. With dynamic ad insertion, you can target both of those people — and more — all without manually changing anything. The technology stitches the video content and ads together into a single, seamless stream and distributes hundreds or thousands of streams wherever they need to go.

LTN Arc: A complete metadata solution

When optimized and used correctly, metadata for live versioning can help you monetize your content in new and innovative ways. LTN Arc is at the forefront of live sports versioning, leveraging metadata and proprietary technology to automate ad trigger insertion, pregame and postgame content, and channel assembly. Its scalable, seamless metadata signaling and ad-break marker insertion can simplify channel management for even the most demanding workflows. As a true partner, we also fully manage our services from our centralized technical operations center (TOC).

Audience fragmentation isn’t going anywhere. The future of live sports distribution is going to mean more demographics, tuning in on more devices, from all around the world. By properly leveraging your video metadata for live versioning, you can overcome the challenges of this new landscape and monetize your content in new ways. Contact us for a demo today to see what we can do for you.