New Technologies for the Movie Picture Industry

Since 2006 MovieLabs has been a unique, shared resource that enables member studios to combine resources, develop common understandings around new technologies, and drive them into adoption. On behalf of our members, we develop and champion new technologies that make digital distribution more efficient and profitable, deliver better experiences to fans and consumers across all platforms, and protect the creative investments that are the core capital of the entertainment industry. We have close relationships in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and throughout the tech world that enable us to enlist support for positive technological change and serve as a trusted broker between our industry and the entrepreneurs and technologists developing new opportunities for the distribution and enjoyment of movies and TV.

MovieLabs allows our members to share costs and bring their combined effort to bear on innovation that benefits the entire industry. We are a shared means of delivering next generation consumer experiences to drive future profitability, cutting costs through industry automation, and sharing the business intelligence necessary to protect and market movies and TV successfully. We focus on four key areas:

  1. Next-generation formats, platforms & experiences – We are deeply embedded in cross-studio efforts to increase future revenues with new digital experiences and next-generation formats. MovieLabs convened the cross-studio group that in 2013 converged on recommendations to add higher dynamic range (HDR) and better color fidelity to next-gen video formats, bringing visible improvement to the consumer experience beyond just the ‘more pixels’ of Ultra HD. With the combined influence of its members, MovieLabs is leading the core developments in SMPTE and MPEG that enable the Blu-ray Disc Association to include HDR in its new format and complete the chain of CE standards needed for HDR consumer displays shipping this year.

    To increase sales of EST and other digital offerings, MovieLabs is writing technical specifications, developing prototypes, and assisting with deployment of new interactive experiences that bring to online consumers the extras, bonus materials, and added content that are delivered with DVD and Blu-ray discs today. With the same goal in mind, we also have served as a key technical consultant and authored many of the technical specifications for the UltraViolet industry initiative.

    Next-generation assets also need next-generation protection. So MovieLabs publishes recommendations for enhanced content protection for new formats and supports industry efforts to deploy HDCP 2.2, foster standards in China, and enable content protection for HTML5. We have analyzed the effectiveness of geo-filtering so that studios have data to drive improvements in the technologies that enable regional licensing of digital content. We also research related technologies such as watermarking and other forms of content protection.

  2. Automated digital workflows & supply chain efficiency - MovieLabs is at the forefront of multiple efforts to enable new business models and make digital distribution more profitable through automation. MovieLabs is a key driver behind the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) that enables savings for digital distribution similar to how UPC codes automate traditional retail. We have built around EIDR a suite of technical specifications that model efficient studio/retailer workflows, including a shared language foundation in MovieLabs Common Metadata, a common format for licensing avails, standardized marketing metadata, a shared industry ratings database, and a Media Manifest specification that enables components-based automation, improved internationalization, and delivery of new interactive experiences and Cross-Platform Extras (CPE) to online consumers. Our cross-industry collaboration with studios, retailers, and other industry groups are bringing dramatic improvements to studio/retailer workflows.

  3. Business intelligence and online piracy – To keep our members informed of consumption trends, both illegitimate and legal, MovieLabs maintains a data platform that supports research, marketing, and anti-piracy groups across all of our members. We use this source of intelligence to analyze industry changes, as well as supporting studio strategy development. Additionally, we test the effectiveness of steps taken by search engines to decrease references to illegitimate content in search results. We also are a technical resource for other industry anti-piracy efforts such as site blocking.

  4. Consulting and outreach – MovieLabs is staffed by a small group of senior technologists with deep backgrounds and broad connections that enable us to drive initiatives that move the needle. We maintain close contacts with technologists inside studios, industry organizations, standards bodies, start-ups, partners, and universities. MovieLabs has the skill set and technology network to facilitate research and development efforts at our member studios and cultivate industry innovation and new ideas for industry efficiency.