Comcast buys metadata company Watchwith

Comcast Center's office in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Comcast has paid an undisclosed sum to acquire San Francisco metadata company Watchwith.

Comcast has quietly acquired longtime partner Watchwith, a San Francisco metadata company.

As first reported by Multichannel News, and confirmed by Comcast, the cable company paid an undisclosed sum for Watchwith and will roll the 15-member company into Comcast Metadata Products and Search Services (CoMPASS). This unit operates the cloud-based metadata, search and recommendation technologies that power various Comcast video systems.

Watchwith specializes in collecting and delivering “frame-level” data for video programming, enabling, say, users of the X1 voice remote to know which actor is appearing in a specific scene, or which location the scene was shot at. This metadata is delivered either through tag inserts in the editing/production process, or by various algorithm and machine-learning techniques. 


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceVideo!

The Video industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Cable, Media and Entertainment, Telco, and Tech companies rely on FierceVideo for the latest news, trends, and analysis on video creation and distribution, OTT delivery technologies, content licensing, and advertising strategies. Sign up today to get news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Watchwith is already involved with several recent X1 platform software upgrades. For example, its metadata is used in the “auto-extend” feature that automatically adjusts the lengths of DVR recordings of programs—most notably, sporting events—that run past the original recorder timing. Watchwith also enables X1 users to tag and bookmark highlights within sporting events they’re recording. 

With the acquisition, Comcast is now a player in a metadata market dominated by the recently consolidated likes of TiVo and Nielsen-owned Gracenote.

“We think the magic of the potential of deep metadata is to be able to take people directly into the part of the content that they are looking for,” CoMPASS Senior VP Rick Rioboli told Multichannel News. “We think it’s a very strategic space.”


Suggested Articles

For now, it looks like Netflix and everyone else still have space to grow.

Flex, which Comcast recently made free for its subscribers, is a lot like X1 but not centered on Comcast’s linear video product.

After a war of words, AT&T and Sinclair have reached a new comprehensive carriage agreement covering DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse.