The digital transformation that the media and entertainment industry is experiencing is driving investment in end-to-end efficiencies inside the supply chain. However, with the increased investment, there is a rising expectation from every link in the chain to provide better insight in the process that ultimately culminates in the end user of the platform.
As data and processes become more efficient, more reliable and more transparent, the opportunities to expand insight into partner activities increases the bottom line. Different standards groups have been working behind the scenes to simplify and align with each other as part of an effort to standardise themselves, to benefit the M+E industry as a whole.
During the panel session ‘Intelligent ‘Standards’ Across the M+E Supply Chain’ at the Intelligent Content Theatre during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, experts discussed renewed investments that are being made to evolve the supply chain into a software development-driven environment that keeps up with the growing demand across business decisions for access to critical data that drives well-informed decisions.
Noting that she is also an industry consultant and advisor for verticals outside the M&E sector, Mary Yurkovic, director of Smart Content at MESA, said: “All the industries have the same problem. How can we all get on the same page to make our content and data easier?
MESA’s Language Metadata Table Working Group is a “real working group where folks contribute and help us understand what the needs are for the Language Metadata Table,” according to Yonah Levenson, the working group’s founder and tri-chair.
Explaining its mission, Levenson said: “At the end of the day, we want to make sure that there’s codes that facilitate interchange between whatever systems you’re using and that, whatever you’re sending out, the code is the same and they expect the same code.”
In 2021, “we added over a hundred new languages,” Levenson said, adding: “Right now, we’re focusing on some additional languages of the Indian subcontinent and we are getting more in there. We just actually updated the LMT. And if you go on the site, I think it’s available now, but there’s over 330 languages and we added over 30 from the languages of the Indians of the continent.”
The goal is to “keep on releasing new languages as the requests come in [and] promote partnerships, Levenson noted. “So if anybody’s out there and you haven’t spoken with us already, come and speak to me afterwards,” she added.
“We’re also working on a validation tool,” she noted, adding it will enable users to verify and make sure that the codes are correct and get SMPTE approval.”
Meanwhile, the question is: “Why does all of this matter? And when you’re speaking to your executive team, a lot of times it’s sort of hard for them to put together,” why standards matter so much, according to Hollie Choi, executive director of The Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR).
“In order to have automation work properly, it has to be based on a reliable, repeatable process,” she went on to say. “So how do you get a reliable, repeatable process? Governance. You have to have somebody who owns your data, owns your solution, owns your process, right. And make sure that those processes are followed 100 percent and then that needs to be based on standards.”
EIDR and LMT “provide that basis for those standards,” Choi said. “So if you take the standard governance, create repeatable processes, clean up your processes, make sure that your data is flowing through correctly, then you can automate because if you’re automating bad data and spreading it throughout the environment, you’re just proliferating problems.”
She added: “Automation only works if the data is clean and good and that the processes are clean and good. So you sort of have to kind of back into where does the standard fit in here. But once you see it kind of laid out like that, it totally makes sense that standards are absolutely vital for you to be able to achieve sustainable growth for your organisation.”
Meanwhile, “one of the nice things also is that LMT works with EIDR,” Levenson said. “So I think if from a standards perspective, you want to keep in mind there isn’t just one standard… A lot of the standard folks are all working together.”