No metadata, no reach – start-up Fassoo uses an AI software to make video content more visible globally

Image © Chris Liverani

The Internet is full of video content – on websites, news portals, social media and video-on-demand platforms. How much of the daily data volume this accounts for is hard to prove statistically. But the data volume of traffic from Internet videos via computers alone is expected to reach 116,905 petabytes per month in 2021, according to one forecast. This raises the questions over how a company can keep track of all the places where the brand keeps appearing. Other issues such as how profits be optimally exploited from the mass of data and how can a company become more visible and better attract the attention of users?

The start-up Fassoo is working in Potsdam with its metadata software to offer intelligent solutions to clients from the film, TV sector and sports marketing to do precisely that. Their analytical software helps companies to playout and monetise video content in the best possible way. The system is based on artificial intelligence. Key components include, for example, the automatic recognition of people, logos, objects or interactions. Sophisticated metadata applications that show search results going beyond title and name searches are not only interesting for end consumers of movies and videos. This technology opens up a wealth of opportunities, for example whether it’s is helping to provide better recommendations for the users, curation opportunities from the platform or in helping brands and content owners understand how and where brand logos and trademarks are used in videos and whether they are legally protected. It can also help to identify sensitive content that ought to be blocked. It takes an innovative approach and ever-improving analytics to provide a specific breakdown of the growing mass and variety of data for companies.

Founded in 2018, Fassoo began with a focus on the film and TV industry but is now increasingly active in the field of major sporting events. The audiovisual market, including the European one with its various languages and cultures, faces the challenge of bringing its content to the attention of a global audience, while the reception behaviour of international audiences is constantly changing and dependent on different factors. “Simply put, we are working on making European content more visible,” says Fassoo CEO and founder William Page. “Every single film has metadata. Some are more complicated. These can be places, facial expressions, or interactions which are being tracked. Or, very simply, languages or certain genres.” If a film is rasterised with the right metadata, it can be better recommended to users, played out and monetised in a more specific way. This is essential for both commercial and cultural offerings in an ever-growing market and given the plethora of video-on-demand platforms. To this end, Fassoo has received funding from the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme, which has been essential in getting the software developed.

The team uses automated processes employing artificial intelligence for the metadata analysis. They break a video down bit by bit into key frames and analyse it. This is based on models according to various parameters in order to simplify the automation. “The underlying metadata models can be anything: motifs like the Brandenburg Gate, comedy elements or violent scenes. We can model whatever is needed,” is how CEO Page describes the approach.

However, the current situation with the pandemic means that it is not the ideal time for innovations. Many things are being put on hold, and some developments are being viewed more conservatively. According to Page, innovation processes have slowed down in some places. On the other hand, the customer base in the sports marketing sector is growing at the moment.

But every second a sponsor is in the frame counts at sporting events like football matches. At the same time, there is a need for a control mechanism informing the companies how much presence they are getting. With the help of metadata, sports scandals such as the recent case of fraud involving the sports marketing company Infront can be better controlled on the corporate side in future: Infront, a marketing agency for banner advertising, had sold 30-second slots at games, but only showed 29 seconds and sold the surplus time as additional ad slots. The incident, known as “seconds theft,” was at the expense of the clients. “This would not have happened with our product. We can screen every single game in order to identify such factors,” Page says.

This makes it easier for companies to track their return on investment (ROI). Their own visibility can be measured more accurately with the help of the metadata. This ensure a more effective deployment of the advertising for potential sponsors and is worth its weight in gold

Originally launched in in Berlin’s Wedding, Fassoo is a start-up at the MediaTech Hub Accelerator in Potsdam and a part of the ever-growing media technology community there.

By Christine Lentz

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