IMF: THE FORMAT OF THE FUTURE YOU’LL NEED TODAY

The year is 2008. How many over-the-top (OTT) platforms do you use? Probably just Netflix, if any at all.

Fast forward to 2018.

How many do you use now? Netflix, Hulu, perhaps Amazon Video (since you have that prime subscription). Oh, and definitely HBO GO- can’t miss Game of Thrones!

It’s clear that the world of video consumption has changed drastically in the past decade. If you’re a content owner or post-house, the change is even more dramatic as you strive to keep up with all the video formats and delivery end points.

A Whole New World  

As the world of streaming continues to expand and consumers demand more flexibility, the growing number of new platforms can be difficult and costly for content owners and distributors to keep up with.

Think about it.

You have a major release that did well in the box office and you want to expand its reach globally. You use your usual methods to distribute it to local operators in major markets, localizing the title for each language and cultural standards. That’s dozens of different formats and additional subs/dubs.
Now add OTT platforms like Netflix as well as unique file formats such as airlines and we’re talking about dozens of file formats, hundreds of hours of manpower and ever growing distribution and archiving costs.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

interoperable master format (IMF)

Have No Fear, IMF is Here

With these crucial changes, what content supply chains need are an efficient way to deliver and package media to maximize audience reach without adding enormous up-front costs.   

The interoperable master format, or IMF, provides a single, master file format that helps alleviate this issue, if not eradicating it entirely. It allows you to build one master file for each title and then build additional assets that are altered based on its final destination.

Let’s break it down

Instead of 30 media files for each destination, each coming in at 1Tb of space for a total of 30Tb, you’d have one master media package and dozens of smaller metadata files for a total of 1.5Tb, effectively reducing the space required 30 fold. The impact on processing time, expert manpower and storage costs are tremendous.

How does it work?

IMF is not made up of a single file. On the contrary, it contains multiple individual components that create a whole package when combined. It includes separate track files for video, audio, subtitles and captioning data, dynamic metadata, packaging data, all of which is wrapped up in a composition playlist (CPL).

CPLs create unique versions of your title based on the master components for specific audience markets. For example, if you have a movie that will be delivered to an audience in the US and in Japan, there will be differing elements that will have to be accounted for. Let’s say there’s a scene where a character holds up a poster with text on it. For the US version, the text appear in english, but for Japan it’ll have to be in Japanese. Rather than creating two whole separate movies for each country, IMF packages allow you to specify the scene and swap it out with the correct elements while preserving the original master file.

Think of it as a video content cut-and-paste.

IMF Pull Quote

Why Should I Adopt IMF?  

There are many reasons that transitioning your content library to IMF makes sense, here are just a few:

  • Futureproof your content: At Ownzones we are unabashed fans of IMF and there’s a clear reason for this: working with IMF in the cloud (our specialty) gives you unlimited flexibility, accessibility and can reduce costs as much as 90%. It’s also a format and a mode of distribution that allows you to make changes and produce a new version of your titles at a moment’s notice, in effect future proofing your library for any future needs.
  • Cost Savings: The cost savings are truly remarkable. Working with IMF means less manpower needed and less overheads such as workstations, software and server storage. Imagine if you will, your entire library of content instantly turned into IMF packages could reduce the number of files by a factor of 100. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars of storage cost alone you’re eliminating.
  • Retain Control: With IMF technology you can access and manage the master file at any point and create a new version of your title. You are not dependent on half a dozen vendors, each vying for a piece of the video supply chain pie. If you open up a new market and need to quickly and efficiently create new versions, you can do so without incurring huge costs and long delays.
  • Unparalleled Flexibility: The IMF workflow offers the best option for incremental changes (fixes, compliance edits, etc.) as well as delivery across multiple destinations. You can rest assured that changes won’t mean thousands of dollars. Additionally if you need to deliver to new platforms or distributor with unique format requirements, you can do so quickly and make the most of this new opportunity.
  • Reducing Errors: This benefit comes with a caveat – you would need to work with our platform, Ownzones Connect™, or a similar infrastructure to achieve these results. Ownzones suite of solutions leverages the IMF specifications to automate and conform for deliveries, greatly reducing human error. If you’d like to know more about this, feel free to reach out to us.

A Match Made in Heaven

With the rapidly growing OTT landscape comes endless opportunities for you to reach more people and find new ways to monetize your content. That said, as a content owner you must prepare yourself by adopting the proper tools and strategies to react quickly. The IMF format gives you that opportunity like none other.

Does transitioning to this new format feel overwhelming?

Rely on our team’s expertise and our state-of-the-art IMF solution, Connect. Not only will we minimize your storage and provide highly flexible versioning, but we will also lower your costs, reduce errors, and improve your video quality. Our SaaS platform also provides total transparency on any operations you manage.

We have the tools and knowledge to help you distribute your content globally cheaper, faster and better. Reach out to us today to find out how you can benefit from IMF technology.

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