“When you have 900+ distributors that we de-
liver to on a regular basis, being able to efficient-
ly order stuff is really important,” says Pethani.
“Even placing an order to figure out what state
your asset is in and what underlying workflows
need to happen to get it to the distributor, the
investigation is really expensive.
“We know what can or is not being monetized the way it should,” he adds. Content promotions and analytics can be used to optimize
ROI for both content owners and distributors.
An automated system easily manages updates
and promotions for individual or bulk changes
to content licensing and pricing, flowing out to
For a retailer like Blockbuster, automation
helps the company see exactly where it makes
the most money, then slice-and-dice this to understand whether profit comes from a promotion, type of content, format, or whatever else
he’s tracking. “Transactions from many different platforms may come with various data set
and having that data well-structured is a prerequisite,” says Hald. Mediamorph does the financial settlement for Blockbuster customers.
“We’ll take in the billing system data and generate out how much should be paid,” says Sid.
“An important KPI for us in using the system
was simply that without adding more resource
that we could actually oversee a more complex and diverse distribution and handle many
more revenue streams with a system where only
very few people are necessary,” says Casper.
“It doesn’t matter if you handle one or five territories, or if you handle SD, HD, 4K, 3D, whatever format as long as everything is built in the
right manner. You are actually able to manage
a more complex business with less resources.”
There are two steps to creating automated
content management: creating and sourcing
metadata. Whether standards come from EMA
or from one of the stores like i Tunes, there’s
published information that license management
technology references for distribution terms.
“We have an enormous amount of metadata,”
says Biegun. “Each customer will look different;
some of our customers have it sit in our system,
other times it sits in our customers’ MAM [me-
dia asset management] or DAM [digital asset
management].” When they go to package that
content to push it to a third party, they have to
check the rights and push the metadata and the
physical asset together and ship that through
their digital supply chain to the end recipient.
“No matter who you use, whether you go to us
or one of our competitors or you build your own
system, it’s really your OVP—any sort of commercial OVP already does this—needs to be able
to be fed with this information. You can make an
API call to set that up,” says Sid. “Or you’ll set up
a watch folder and periodically push files into it
that will get uploaded.”
One of the primary needs is how to identify
a title, so one system can intelligently tell another system to make “video 123729” available,
says Sid. “Obviously all the systems involved
need to incorporate that decision and follow it,
so you know that 123729 is season 3, episode 4
of Modern Family. Once you’ve done that, the
rest is actually relatively straightforward.”
While the concept seems relatively straightforward, the execution is a different story. One
important question is when does it make dollars
and sense to use technology to manage content
licensing? This can be a delicate and proprietary
question. How many times a piece of content is
played is valuable information, and having a secure relationship with a vendor is a key part of
the choice to use technology over human input.
Sometimes rights management is part of a
larger software system, while other times it’s
handled by a company specializing in this area.
Either way, fitting all the pieces together is key
to managing the data needed to both make
direct-to-consumer services run smoothly and
As distribution channels constantly evolve,
this side of the video ecosystem becomes vitally important. The idea that anyone would run
a business now using manual control for very
complex licensing agreements seems quaint.
Of course, consumers don’t care who’s minding the store, they just want to continue viewing
however and where ever they want.
Nadine Krefetz ( email@example.com) is a digital media
consultant. Her background is in writing, multimedia software
development, and project management. She thinks everything
naturally is better in video, plus there’s something rewarding about
getting engineers to speak in plain English about complex technology.
Comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check
the masthead for other ways to contact us.