Global digital distribution of movies, episodic TV programs and other home entertainment fare should soon become easier, as well as more available, secure and sophisticated thanks to the release of updated  specifications released this week by multiple parties in the digital delivery supply chain.

Multi-industry home entertainment association the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and Motion Pictures Laboratories (MovieLabs) have teamed up with retailers and services providers to deliver four updated supply chain specifications for digital distribution of film and TV.

The updated specifications  announced Thursday were developed jointly by the three organizations through the Digital Supply Chain Alliance announced earlier in 2017, and include two sets of comprehensive specifications and two specifications covering “core” requirements and use cases. The latter pair are designed to help content owners and distributors start small and grow.

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The overarching solution at the root of the new updates is helping to expand support for international distribution to multiple outlets while ensuring each territory receives the right content, as the transactional processes become more sophisticated and automated between parties in the digital supply chain.

“The Digital Supply Chain Alliance was created to allow us as an industry to move faster and more efficiently towards standards adoption industrywide,” stated John Powers, Executive Director, DEG. “We are happy to demonstrate, with the release of these first specs, that this is successfully happening. This is a meaningful step in keeping up with the pace of change in digital distribution.”

“As our members continue to expand the scope and scale of their content offerings, it’s important that our specifications adapt to support them,” noted Eric Hanson, Vice President of Industry Leadership, EMA. “It’s been great having such engaged support from retailers, service providers, studios and TV networks in agreeing on technical solutions to increasingly complex use cases.”

“Working together with the DEG and EMA, we incorporated improvements into the specifications to make them complete enough and robust enough to handle a wide range of situations encountered by our members,” explained Craig Seidel, MovieLabs Vice President of Distribution Technology. “We are very pleased to make these the first specs approved through the Digital Supply Chain Alliance.”

According to an announcement from the participating parties Thursday, updates involved in the concess specifications include:

  • Common Metadata 2.7 – Substantial new features have been added to the Common Metadata specification, including support for franchises and brands, related works, more sophisticated TV internationalization, and technical metadata improvements (e.g., dynamic metadata and additional encoding parameters). The new spec also includes general updates such as new codec controlled vocabularies, minor corrections, and clarifications. This is one of the most substantial Common Metadata updates.
  • Media Entertainment Core 2.8 – The Media Entertainment Core Metadata spec defines the core requirements for transferring metadata from Publishers to Retailers. MEC has been updated to conform to Common Metadata 2.7.
  • Media Manifest 1.8 – The Media Manifest spec has also been updated to follow Common Metadata 2.7, as well as adding data to support additional workflow use cases, ability to handle cards in playable sequence, and improved support for TV that reduces the need for territory-specific experiences.
  • Media Manifest Core 2.0 – Media Manifest Core 2.0 is the targeted core specification based on Media Manifest 1.8 and Common Metadata 2.7. It includes all the improvements from those specifications and adds full support for episodic content.

For further information on the specifications see the MovieLabs website


By Greg Tarr


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