Ooyala Extends Support For Interoperable Master Format

Ooyala announced extended support for the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) in its Flex Media Platform around IBC 2018.

The firm owned by Australian Telco Telstra claimed this will lead to significant reduction in costs associated with multi-version, multi-platform distribution, while improving efficiency of the workflow.

With roots in digital cinema, IMF is a file-delivery standard developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) designed to reduce the number of versions of a video file required for distribution to viewers in different markets. It also caters for multiple platforms. Before IMF came along sometimes thousands of different versions of a widely distributed motion picture would have to be created for distribution to multiple market segments to address diverse combinations of subtitles, metadata, audio, formatting and other features. Ooyala cited industry estimates that IMF has saved 25% or more in storage and “versioning” costs.

Yet it is still early days for IMF. The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) investigated the potential use cases for IMF in broadcasting workflows during 2017 and concluded that most of its members lacked the complex versioning requirements needed to justify IMF and were using codecs that the format did not support. It did however highlight strong potential for future media workflows, with broadcasters likely to benefit from use cases including distributing/selling content in multiple versions, as well as buying content in. IMF would also help archive content that has multiple versions, while bringing opportunities to improve the way access services such as subtitling are associated with programmes.

The Ooyala Flex Media Platform will enable an IMF workflow to be combined with existing business-critical technologies. Among cited features, the platform natively supports receipt of Interoperable Master Packages (IMPs) and transcodes them into renditions required for streaming to customer devices.

Ooyala will provide clients with IMF support across all stages of the content supply chain, addressing a range of IMF requirements from asset management through processing, distribution and digital playout. 

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