23 Mar MovieLabs CEO Rich Berger Leads Collaboration for Digital Gain
Venture’s priorities are protecting content value and removing friction from the digital supply chain
Studio veteran Richard Berger believes his job as President and CEO of MovieLabs the perfect vantage point from which to focus on industrywide efforts to grow the business of digital content distribution. Six months into his leadership of the technology joint venture founded in 2006 by six major studios, Berger considers MovieLabs “the place where the major studios can team up to focus on emerging technologies that have real potential to change the industry for the better.”
MovieLab’s roots are in anti-piracy technology and content protection, but the organization quickly evolved to address new technologies for next-generation content platforms and products, automated digital workflows, digital analytics and content experience, in addition to content security.
Berger joined MovieLabs from Sony Pictures Entertainment, where, as SVP of Worldwide Digital Strategy & Advanced Platforms, he worked with other studios and MovieLabs on industrywide initiatives including Ultraviolet, Movies Anywhere, supply chain standards, and Cross Platform Extras. In this Q&A with the DEG Blog, he discusses both digital supply chain and consumer initiatives that MovieLabs believes can help increase consumer acceptance and usage of digital entertainment transactions.
Q: What are they key areas that MovieLabs is focusing on for the next twelve months?
A: Protecting the value of studio content and removing friction from the digital supply chain for studios and their partners both remain priority focus areas for MovieLabs. We are working more closely than ever with the DEG and the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) on digital supply chain standards and adoption. We will also continue our seat on the board of EIDR as that organization works to position EIDR for the future, providing a universal unique identifier system for movies and television assets across the entire range of audiovisual object types that are relevant to entertainment commerce. Beyond that, we think it is imperative for MovieLabs to work with the studios to enable next-gen formats and platforms that enhance the value of studio content for consumers. This includes existing initiatives like Movies Anywhere and Cross Platform Extras as well as continuing to stay ahead of the curve on new technologies.
Q: How do you think the digital supply chain initiatives will impact the studios and the wider industry?
A: Together with participants in the DEG and EMA, MovieLabs has developed and published the Digital Distribution Framework (MDDF), which is a set of specifications that establish a blueprint for automated digital distribution. This is an initiative that truly benefits all parties of the digital distribution ecosystem. Adopting a set of standards for digital distribution ultimately removes friction and cost from the supply chain for both studios and their partners. Aside from the obvious benefits of standardization like accuracy, timeliness, usage data, improved QC, better efficiency and automation, it enables richer experiences like more engaging bonus and interactive content, social features, lifecycle engagement, cross promotions and product innovation.
Q: What exactly are Cross-Platform Extras and why are they important to consumers’ embrace of digital?
A: As you know, with DVD and Blu-ray, the studios author a full movie experience with extras and bonus features as part of the product. But with digital, in order to include extras and bonus features on the various retail service platforms, the studios and retailers have to work together. Cross-Platform Extras (CPE) is a set of MovieLabs specifications that enable studios to publish additional content and interactive experiences in a common, standard way so retailers can include it during playback on their platforms for consumers. This is important because the studios are investing in next-gen movie experiences and with CPE, retailers that want to leverage this investment have access to an open, standard way to include these experiences on their platforms for consumers.
Q: What is Movies Anywhere’s unique consumer proposition and why are the studios so bullish about it?
A: At its heart, MA is about the consumer. The studios want to give consumers the best experience possible when they buy digital movies. That starts with giving consumers more options…more options for buying and more options for watching their digital movie collections. By creating a separate Movies Anywhere digital library, consumers can link to participating MA digital retailers and sync their movie collections regardless of where the movie was purchased or redeemed. Consumers can practically buy movies anywhere and not have to worry about keeping track of which store they bought it from because the movies will always end up where they need to be. As more and more retailer services integrate with MA, the value of the consumer’s digital library goes up. It also positions consumers to take advantage of the best new and innovative playback features that become available without having to re-purchase their movies over and over again. Just like retailers, MA is adopting the MDDF and CPE specs to deliver next-gen digital movie experiences that we all want to see.
Q: Looking beyond these current initiatives, what does the future hold for MovieLabs?
A: MovieLabs will continue to be the perfect meeting place for the studios… a place to provide leadership and a forum for facing the challenges in this rapidly changing media landscape. If you look at the world back when MovieLabs was created as compared to now, so much has happened and so much of the progress we have seen has been the result of leveraging new technologies to launch new formats and platforms. I believe now more than ever, the need to work together to move the industry forward has never been more important.
For more information on MovieLabs, please visit movielabs.com.
READ MORE ON THE DEG BLOG:
Danny Kaye on Fox Innovation Lab’s Commitment to ‘Best Possible Viewing Experiences’
UHDA’s Fidler: On a Mission at CES to Engage Consumers and the Press