There are more than 817,000 unique program titles across U.S. traditional TV/streaming services as of Feb. 2022, with many featuring hundreds of individual episodes and chapters.*

*Nielsen’s Gracenote metadata listings

CTAM is leading brand exposure opportunities to attract viewers through three initiatives as well as through CTAM’s 2024 Business Priorities:

CTAM SmartMove

Digital campaign reaches consumers at a key decision-making point when they move households. Sophisticated targeting of fans promotes program content from members in digital display creative with engagement data at no extra cost.


TV Critics Tour

Bi-annual forum assembles 250+ influential writers to boost coverage of program content saving members an average of $10k per tour.

Girl Listening to Music

Metadata Management

Ensures search, recommendation and discovery results through enriched descriptors, key images and nuanced content profiles. Better program suggestions and search make for increased customer satisfaction.

The Complex Metadata Journey

A first-of-its-kind visualization of the metadata pathway communicates a better understanding of the process.

These illustrations are designed to influence consistent metadata management practices across platforms and potentially stimulate process efficiencies.

Click each image to enlarge

Metadata Path from Publisher to Viewer
Example 1: First-run TV Series on Current Generation STB
Example 2: Syndicated TV Series with EST on Current Generation STB

News Metadata Best Practices

News and breaking news impose accelerated work flows for metadata management and these best practices provide guidance for news series and specials. Contributed by subject matter experts from Charter, Comcast, Fox, NBCU, and WarnerMedia.

Metadata Best Practices for Multi-Network Simulcast and Links Between Related Specials

A working group comprised of subject matter experts from Comcast, Charter, Fox, NBCU, WarnerBros. Discovery outline procedures for major events and simulcasts. Additionally, Gracenote diagrams the automation process and other important delivery guidelines.

6 Common Issues with Metadata for Content Providers

Developed with Witbe

The Importance of Metadata

Metadata, both the customer-facing element and the parts working behind the scenes, is the language that content runs on. It is essential to helping viewers navigate to search and discover what to watch. Metadata, and the process by which it is entered and relayed across different services, is also the starting point for many issues that affect customers at home.

Subscriptions and ad revenue both rely on content posting on time, as do enthusiastic fans.

Solution: Plan to enter metadata at least a week in advance for movies and TV episodes to arrive on every platform where the content appears. For live programming, notify aggregators immediately once the event is planned. Pay particular attention to License Window Start Date and Day/Month/Year formatting options.

Third-party content staying on your service past its agreed-upon end date could lead to legal issues.

Solution: Be careful entering License Window End Time metadata, ensuring that the time zones and date are formatted correctly. Verify that your content is also being removed from any third-party services hosting it.

Since metadata is often entered by different partners for different services, the original descriptions are sometimes replaced by generic ones.

Solution: Verify on an end-user device that the correct description is showing up on all platforms. Third-party services can help verify content descriptions in other territories.

Content on your app may not be properly indexed in the platform’s meta-aggregator, meaning it cannot be found using the platform’s main OS search engine.

Solution: Regularly verify that your content is being indexed on platforms like Android TV or Roku, so that users quickly find your service instead of renting the content elsewhere. Try searching both the full title and the first two words to verify that indexing is properly being completed.

Episodes are sometimes posted out of order within a season, particularly shorts, specials, and bonuses.

Solution: Plan ahead for special episodes when entering season counts. Verify when submitting metadata (and again at the aggregator level) that special episodes are being sorted correctly. Third-party services like Gracenote can provide unique ID codes that help optimize metadata organization.

Viewers are unlikely to find shows with profane titles through search, voice command, or broadcast guides, including recent hits Kevin Can F**k Himself, Rap Sh!t, and The End of the F***ing World.

Solution: Anticipate issues and filter results from common variations of titles. Try to keep titles simple where possible. Verify that these shows are being indexed in the host OS, since they may be filtered out by default due to inappropriate language or interior punctuation.

The Importance of Verification

Content providers need a dependable verification process for catching these issues as they pop up. Wherever possible, metadata should be verified as an end-user on the same applications, devices, and networks that your customers use. If you want to verify at scale, automation is a must. Witbe is a service that helps monitor if content is actually going live on time and organized correctly across devices, regions, and platforms. Verification is essential for recognizing and resolving metadata issues before customers complain.

Content Discoverability Resources

The Impact of Aggregation

CTAM Commissioned Study with Hub Entertainment Research
June 2023

Discover how aggregating SVOD / FAST platforms into pay-TV services can impact perceived value, satisfaction, and likelihood to churn or recommend.


  • 72% of consumers feel there are too many subscriptions.
  • 51% feel there are so many shows to choose from it’s hard to
    know where to start (up from 44% in 2022).
  • Almost half (46%) of those who have integrated say it makes
    their pay-TV subscription a lot more valuable.
  • Pay-TV subscribers who have integrated are much more
    satisfied with their pay-TV provider.
  • Those who have integrated are significantly more likely to
    say they’ll still have their pay-TV subscription in a year.

Hub Entertainment Research: Conquering Content Study

(Oct. 2022)

Uncover how viewers discover new shows, and why they choose some content over others.


  • More than half (51%) say the volume of shows makes it hard to know where to begin.
  • As a result, universal listings are becoming more critical with 61% of viewers saying it’s needed to search all their platforms in one place.
  • However, universal search is underutilized with those with the capability only using it about 40% of the time.
  • Trailers are a keyway to “cut through the content cluttler”
    • Almost two-thirds (63%) are more likely to choose a show if they can watch the trailer first.
    • Three-quarters (78%) of those who discovered a new favorite show via a trailer said the trailer watched ran automatically.
  • Viewers follow shows more than they follow platforms.

Click here for full study information.