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4 February 2021

Distribution evolves before our eyes as MGM promotes Eluvio

Almost 18 months after dipping its toes into the unproven technology, media giant MGM has taken its work with video delivery start-up Eluvio up a notch, by deploying the company’s Content Fabric software across its digital marketing properties.

Since first getting involved with Eluvio, MGM has been won over by the software’s ability to help it launch and create new client-facing experiences, with tailored permissions and content rights enforcement to support crucial efforts for MGM such as pre-releases and screenings. Eluvio’s increased responsibilities at MGM underscores how the Eluvio Content Fabric is much more than an additional overlay network to support traditional content delivery networks – as the technology allows customers to carve out entirely new paths where future opportunities can emerge and grow.

Previously, Eluvio’s deal related only to MGM Studios, using the Eluvio Content Fabric for global streaming to web, mobile and TVE audiences of certain properties, including transcoding, multi-format encryption and DRM, access control, and audience reporting. The initial deployment, announced in time for IBC 2019, formed part of MGM’s plans for what it called a next-gen supply chain, of which this week’s development is clearly the next chapter.

Now, the consumer-facing website MGM.com and the B2B partner licensing platform MGM Roar will both receive the blockchain-based Eluvio Content Fabric treatment to improve operations.

MGM Roar is easily the more significant recipient of Eluvio’s technology, reaching corners of the B2B sales platform including Roar Screeners, Roar Pre-Release, Roar Marketing, and MGM Licensing.

Potential in the latter area is considerable, as MGM plans to introduce a new B2B licensing platform later this year to improve discoverability of MGM content for marketers, across its various properties. This includes content discovery tools at the frame level, using a feature of the Eluvio platform called Avails Manager, so MGM can control content access based on contracts and business rules.

MGM Licensing will also make use of Eluvio’s in-platform Video Understanding via Machine Learning feature, for automatically tagging incoming content, identified celebrities, logos, landmarks and places, optical character recognition, and activities, while providing shot and transition detection. It also takes care of speech-to-text and deep search of these ML tags and metadata for creating and recommending customized clips for advertiser clients.

Just for licensing alone, the Eluvio Content Fabric is bringing a comprehensive suite of data-driven features to MGM, signaling how the technology has matured greatly in such a short space of time from when Faultline was first introduced to Eluvio in September 2019, when it was still operating in stealth mode.

Pre-Releases are one important facet of MGM’s business that is evolving with Eluvio. MGM Roar recently offered content screenings via the Eluvio Content Fabric on the Apple TV app and desktop, in what is apparently a first of its kind. Streamed in 4K, MGM delivered titles with individualized watermarking, encryption, and DRM, while creating customized sites, campaign policies, and issuing blockchain-based tickets to pre-release screenings – all via the Eluvio API.

MGM clients can also watch and discover MGM’s full back catalog on one platform, called Roar Screeners, including a secure and personalized screening platform. Finally, Roar Marketing serves as a portal for licensees to access some 1.5 million MGM assets, served in real-time by the Eluvio Content Fabric.

The Eluvio Content Fabric technology is a multi-layered architecture designed to eliminate the requirement to create additional copies of files used in distribution networks or storage facilities. It functions as an overlay network for video distribution directly from the stream or file source – implemented in a blockchain network to create a new kind of D2C distribution platform.

When first placing Eluvio under the microscope, Faultline approached with extreme caution, saying that by scratching the surface of the Content Fabric software platform, in development for around two years before emerging from stealth, we can begin to envisage how video delivery networks in the future could look decidedly different. Our conclusion was that while Eluvio’s debut centered on disrupting the CDN and transcoding markets, which we remain unconvinced by, we saw bigger disruptive potential for the technology in fields from ads and personalization to monetization and audience reporting.

Approaching 18 months later, that assessment appears to be ringing true.

Doug Rousso, EVP & CTIO at MGM said, “Eluvio is key to this effort, with breakthroughs in dynamic media composition, blockchain security, and high-performance streaming that have helped reshape our distribution architecture and set a new bar for technological innovation.”