TechBytes with Ben Howell, Director, Product Management at Veritone

TechBytes with Ben Howell, Director, Product Management at Veritone

Please tell us about your experience as a Product Management leader through the COVID-19 crisis. 

I’ve been with Veritone through an acquisition of my previous company, Wazee Digital, for almost a decade. For the last two and half years, I’ve led product management for Digital Media Hub, a cloud-native, AI-enabled media management platform, specifically designed for content owners to help them organize and monetize their content. The last nine months has been an interesting yet creatively-challenging experience. The pandemic upended many industries including media. As more people stayed at home, media consumption surged across all mediums. With many employees working remotely and content production at a standstill, media companies struggled to deliver new content to satisfy their consumers. And when we saw the cancellations of all live sports, we wanted to help media companies explore new ways to deliver and monetize new content from old, existing content. I think is a perfect example of this creative thinking, which allowed us to leverage our platform to deliver an engaging new site that featured hundreds of hours of highly-curated college football and basketball content and gives avid sports fans a new way to consume content.

Tell us about the idea behind the launch of and how it helped you grow your business creatives beyond the norm. started during a time where sports had halted due to COVID-19 and fans were looking for any type of content to consume. We knew that the professional football draft was going to take place and wanted to create a free and unique experience for avid sports fans to consume content related to the draft. For years we have represented some of the largest sport leagues, conferences and federations from both a licensing and archival management standpoint. These collections of content have some of the most memorable moments in sports history but a lot of the more recent content we ingest and manage is very exclusive, behind the scenes and has never been seen before. Combining the content with the power of our aiWARE platform, we are now able to maximize the search and discoverability of these athletes and specific moments throughout a season or game. This concept allowed us to build out what is today. We are always looking for new ways to market and feature our partners’ content, and served as this platform for us to not only feature content for licensing and monetization use-cases but bring that unique experience for fans that were missing sports.

What customer experience trends are you keenly following in the TV and Digital Video advertising space? 

Consumers are hungry for video content. This is more true now more than ever and they will even prefer video without audio much of the time. Because of this, short, easy-to-share and catchy videos are in high demand – as is captioning and recommendation technologies. We will continue to follow these trends and innovate where we play in these spaces.

Where is the video ad experience heading to in 2021? How did remote workplace trends affect this capability?

Many kinks in remote video production were worked out in the first few months of the pandemic. There are still many kinks to work out and a lot of trial and error, but we have come a long way. 2021 will not have a shortage of video ads – both linear and digital. The industry as a whole is getting incredibly creative, and consumers love it because it’s relatable and human. We are all becoming much closer than some outlets portray.

Could you tell us about the top technologies that you think would influence brand marketing and social media engagements in 2021? How are you preparing for it at Veritone?

Changing privacy laws are always on the horizon and we are continuously keeping a watch on that. For brands, by way of podcast distribution platforms, we have a technology called Content Classification via aiWARE that allows advertisers to contextually target their audience rather than  using consumer data. So for example, once transcribed and processed through our aiWARE technology, we instantly know what the podcast was about i.e. Working out, meal planning and meditation so Athletic Greens may be a great candidate as an advertiser. It’s a truly effective way to advertise and doesn’t invade anyone’s privacy.

What are your thoughts on the role of AI and Data Science in advertising technology setups?

Related to my answer to the previous question, AI and Data Science plays a huge role and will continue to have an increased role in advertising technology setups. From programmatic placements, measurement and attribution to contextual ad targeting and brand safety. None of this is possible at scale without either one of those things.

Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to see here:

Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the National Football League and Adam Silver, commissioner of the National Basketball Association

Thank you for answering all our questions!

Ben Howell is a Director, Product Management at Veritone

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Veritone is a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and solutions. The company’s proprietary operating system, aiWARE™, orchestrates an expanding ecosystem of machine learning models to transform audio, video and other data sources into actionable intelligence. aiWARE can be deployed in a number of environments and configurations to meet customers’ needs. Its open architecture enables customers in the media and entertainment, legal and compliance, and government sectors to easily deploy applications that leverage the power of AI to dramatically improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.

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