Are Your Video Archives Earning Their Keep?

February 7, 2022

Streaming publishers are often focused on creating the next big thing to lure viewers to their services. But what about the content you already have in your archives? Some organizations possess radio broadcasts, television programming, and photography dating back nearly a century. How do you leverage this vintage content so it can add value to your bottom lines?

In a recent NEXTV Europe webinar, How to Extract More Value from Video Libraries, experts discussed the challenges of missing metadata, how to make older content relevant to mass audiences, and strategies for monetizing troves of dusty material waiting patiently in the wings.

The first step: Digitizing older content and adding metadata

Bríd Dooley, Head of Archives at RTÉ, explains that her organization has content dating back to the 1920s and 30s, and she’s not alone. Many media companies have rich histories—and the assets to match.

 “The content is there, but the problem is the quality of the metadata. Every archive has this problem.” –  Dr. Christian Vogg, Head of National Data Taskforce, SRG

His organization also has footage from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, and they are slowly but methodically digitizing it and adding the necessary metadata so it is searchable alongside their newer content. They already have 2 million archived audio and video files online with more joining them in the cloud each month.

At RTÉ, Dooley and her colleagues are undergoing the same painstaking effort, but there’s simply no shortcut for the labor involved in moving older material to the online world.

“It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of resources, but we would like to have all of our news content available for anybody to view and search online easily.” – Bríd Dooley, Head of Archives, RTÉ

This arduous undertaking is well worth the effort. Good metadata leads to good metrics, which are an essential element of realizing the value of archived content.

Connecting viewers with older content

While historians and researchers are always on the hunt for older content, it often takes a current trend to breathe new life into what’s sitting in the archives so it’s appealing to the masses. One easy way to gain attention is to have this vintage material featured on a popular series, which inspires some viewers to search for more content just like it after the show airs.

That happened to RTÉ recently when the The Late Late Toy Show, an extremely popular Irish program, aired. It included some archived footage, and the RTÉ team made sure to provide related content online knowing those who tuned in would come looking for it later.

“I would say the most ordinary and surprising of materials can achieve huge hits.” – Bríd Dooley, Head of Archives, RTÉ

Similarly, a long-running series called Reeling in the Years has also driven interest in older footage that continues past the air date of a given episode. Older and younger generations, alike, connect with this content, especially if it captures something in their identity, such as their culture or heritage. They’re also especially captivated by local history and their own sense of place in the world.

Understanding your audience to monetize nostalgia

Once archived content is online and you’ve proven there is an appetite for it, how do you ensure the right content gets to the right place to add to your bottom line? While metadata is part of the answer, it’s not the only factor at play. It starts with a simple question about your goals.

“What does success look like in terms of metrics?” – Will Penson, Vice President, GTM Strategy and Operations, Conviva

Your answer could be as basic as more plays and more minutes for an advertising-funded broadcaster’s success, or number of viewers and how often they come back for a subscription-based service. However, for an archive service, you may want to measure your effectiveness by the percentage completion rates of your content.

“Whatever you identify as the right metric, you then have to democratize that across the business. You have to have that consistent source of data across the organization, that single source of truth.” – Will Penson, Vice President, GTM Strategy and Operations, Conviva

Once you’ve gotten a handle on what success looks like, it’s time to turn that data into action to generate revenue from your archived content. Conviva’s Viewer Insights can help streaming publishers get to know their archive audiences more intimately. Once you know what older content is capturing their attention and keeping them tuned in, you can develop a strategy to deliver even more of it.

Whether you’re streaming vintage or current content, the most successful platforms are driving viewers to additional content through recommendations derived from underlying content metadata. A recent State of Streaming report by Conviva revealed that 90% of streaming viewers frequently watch what is recommended to them when they launch the streaming service.

“Having data drive those recommendations based on the underlying content metadata, what you know about your audience, is absolutely critical. It’s really the most effective way in the modern age to get the right content in front of the right person.” – Will Penson, Vice President, GTM Strategy and Operations, Conviva

View the NEXTV Europe webinar, How to Extract More Value from Video Libraries, here.