Providing personalized access to TV
and online video has led content owners to want to fully optimize their rights
in ways that perhaps no one would
have anticipated. “Licensing deals have
become more complicated because licensees get niche licenses for different
geos or different devices or a variety
of permutations of where they can play
content,” says Nate Thompson, managing director, Globant.
“We’ve done implementations where we will
do an avails call and that will then tell us what
can be available in that country. In some cases,
there will be an integration into a video CMS
[content management system] or an OVP [on-line video platform].” From there, a lot of content is protected by digital rights management
(DRM), depending on the publisher, but this article is really about what happens before DRM
is used to enforce business rules.
The advent of new devices and over-the-top
(OTT) delivery worldwide has led to a growing
challenge around the tracking of the actual
content playback rights, with respect to not just
geographies but also devices. “If we take iflix as
an example, they are in so many countries now
and they address their audience in so many lan-
guages, multiple languages per country very of-
ten. They have different rights for each country.
They may even have different rights for each
audio and different rights for subtitling,” says
Helge Høibraaten, CEO of OVP Vimond Media
Solutions. “Sometimes you don’t have the same
rights windows for all the different screens.
Maybe mobile rights are different from smart
TV rights, for instance.”
Since content licensing rights don’t seem to
be getting simpler anytime soon, the solution for
the trend of personalization and worldwide dis-
tribution rests with automation. “We’ve seen a
couple of companies that have developed rights
management and avails software that will plug
in as part of an overall media workflow. The two
we see in the market the most are Mediamorph
and Rightsline,” says Thompson.
Content Licensing Management
Content licensing management is based on
avails, the content availability metadata that out-
lines specific license terms about when movies
or TV content can be shown. The Entertainment
Merchants Association (EMA) has developed
recommended digital supply chain standards
for this metadata.
“Many of the major digital video storefronts
have embraced a nonproprietary TVOD [trans-actional video on demand] avails solution we
developed called EMA Avails and are incorporating that into their workflows. Major studios and service and technology providers who
support those content suppliers are adapting
their systems to be EMA Avails compliant,” says
Sean Bersell, senior vice president of public affairs, EMA.
The lack of standards in metadata is also mirrored in the uniqueness of each media owner
or distributor’s architecture. Vistex engineers
say their implementations are very customized,
and each customer has slightly different needs
for their licensing and avails management technology. Even if requirements differ greatly to
coordinate different systems, the order request
processes are the same.
“When content is negotiated for purchase,
the avails are sent out from content distributors. Those agreements are registered in our
system and once the retailer has confirmed the
licenses they wish to have the rights to sell, that
information is sent to an OVP. The OVP then
triggers the creation of products,” says Mike Sid,
founder and chief strategy officer, Mediamorph.
What’s going on now is that a lot of people are
still using spreadsheets to enter the avails information that they need to legally distribute content into an OVP, he says. “That probably is really more common than not.
“You can always do it by hand,” says Sid.
“When a new service is started, people say ‘Well
to keep close
track of what sort
of monetization is
allowed for each
piece of content.
shows two types
allowed for a