THE IMPACT OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY ON MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT By James Wilson, director, IBM Aspera Hybrid Cloud, IBM Aspera
s blockchain begins to usher in a new era for the internet, it’s no secret that it is set to dramatically transform a host of industries. From enterprise IT and finance to manufacturing and supply chain management, new applications and use cases of blockchain technology are emerging at a rapid rate as it continues to extend beyond cryptocurrency. In simple terms, blockchain refers to a distributed database that can be shared by multiple systems contributing to the same body of data, creating a shared system of record among those who have the required access privileges. It’s also immutable, due to the fact that every transaction is recorded chronologically and validated by other members of the network – meaning the data can’t be tampered with. The key thing to remember about blockchain is that trust is established through a combination of transparency, traceability and state-of-the-art cryptography. Access control mechanisms provide the relevant parties with visibility into the history of every single transaction, so users can be sure that the data is both secure and accurate. It’s this trust, along with the enterprise-grade security and authentication capabilities, that will be essential to blockchain’s future success in the media industry. What has become clear is that blockchain has the potential to provide a fresh and innovative approach to content distribution and monetisation, as well as enable new business models through its inherent transparency and security benefits and the ability to autonomously execute smart contracts. Although there are still hurdles to overcome, the potential impact of blockchain in media is enormous. BLOCKCHAIN’S POTENTIAL Why is the media industry getting so excited about blockchain?
Several innovative content distribution and monetisation solutions are starting to gain the interest of M&E organisations, while projects related to more foundational uses are starting to show more immediate potential. For example, the technology has a major role to play in enabling collaboration across the industry by verifying the provenance and pedigree of assets. Throughout their lifecycle, digital assets are exchanged between multiple parties and traverse many hosted services and multiple IT solutions that are more frequently being deployed into hybrid, multi-Cloud infrastructures. Media organisations therefore need ways to secure this exchange of content to avoid leaks and unauthorised access – especially with piracy set to cost streaming services $50 billion by 2022. Security often comes at a price, though, as data transfer performance and speed of asset exchange can suffer as a result of increased security measures. To truly add value to these collaboration and asset exchange processes, new technology must be both secure and performant. This is where blockchain comes into play. It offers the ability to establish trusted networks through an immutable chain of custody, build an additional layer of security around assets, enable forensic auditing, and reliably execute commercial contracts over the internet. For example, a global registry of assets that provides an interconnected network of metadata and integrations with different databases and systems would allow M&E organisations to take any asset that’s registered with the global identity registry and learn who has come into contact with it, what corrections or VFX techniques have been applied to it and who has the
‘The media industry has the potential to be a technology leader in its use of blockchain.’ 60 | TVBEUROPE JULY/AUGUST 2019
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