Metadata Content Link


Served as a design lead for a metadata content management ecosystem that enables a billion dollar revenue stream

Clients include Disney, Amazon, Netflix, and hundreds more

Gracenote is a leader in media metadata. From 2019 to 2023 I was the design lead for a primary client product in the Nielsen (parent company of Gracenote) national reporting toolchain. I worked with clients like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and many more to create a platform for managing their television program and movie metadata.

Managing program metadata, including broadcast information, is a crucial part of being able to report accurate viewership, which is core to Nielsen’s product offering. The software products that enable this offering have to solve for the immensely complex problems created when television programs and movies are shown on various platforms and channels, syndicated by multiple networks, with region, language, version and broadcast time as pieces of the metadata puzzle as well.

Nielsen Content Link was conceived as a solution, and after proving the concept with a successful partial rollout, it was chosen as the content library and schedule tool for the entire product portfolio.

Building the tool (referred to as NCL herein) was a large undertaking that involved stakeholders from across the organization, as well as our biggest clients. An immense research effort was necessary to ensure that all business requirements were met due to the highly intricate nature of the content and its delivery.

To that end, we created several focus groups, each consisting of a representative user - not quite personas in the traditional sense, but rather archetypes that focused on different content types, contract sizes, and types of media (for example, networks that produced and aired sports content had their own subgroup).

The success of a project of this nature is of course predicated on a workable information architecture, both for usability and technical reasons. Recurring meetings with our research groups and internal data architects informed our architecture, and that was reflected in the interfaces that we built.

NCL was a challenging but enlightening experience. Early in my career, I was drawn to aphorisms regarding simplicity and minimalism, but never was it more clear than in this project that the path to simplicity can be very complex. When the stakes are billions of dollars of revenue and client relationships that are decades old, a robust and proven process is a must. That said, my the principles that I had been and still practice today were reinforced. Design has to solve problems, it has to make things easier for people, and it must be consistent.