This article originally appeared in TV Technology.
The launch of the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability has been announced by its sponsors, the North American Broadcasters Association, Advanced Media Workflow Association, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers, American Association of Advertising Agencies and Association of National Advertisers. The European Broadcasting Union is participating as an observer.
Bringing together manufacturers, broadcasters, advertisers, ad agencies, and industry organizations — standards bodies and trade associations — serving the professional media market, the JTF has an ultimate goal to create greater efficiencies and cost savings for exchange of file-based content. The group’s initial focus will be to gather and analyze requirements for a machine-generated and readable file interchange and delivery specification — including standardized and common structured metadata—for the professional media industry. Use case examples include promo, spot, and program delivery from a provider to a broadcaster.
“We believe that, by improving the specification and exchange of professional media between organizations, we can enable new and more efficient file-based workflows,” said Clyde Smith, senior vice president of New Technology for Fox Networks and a member of the NABA Technical Committee that initiated the creation of the group. “The JTF represents a diverse group of sponsor organizations with an extensive global reach, and together we will gather and analyze information not only about user requirements, but also about current standards and specifications. With this information we can rationalize the complexity of the current media landscape and make useful process and technology recommendations that improve workflow interoperability while reducing the attendant costs of file-based operations.”
In one of its initial actions, the JTF has published a survey designed to collect data on user requirements. Open to any member of the media industry, the survey asks participants to create a one-sentence “user story” by identifying the nature of their work, the specific function they seek, and the business value that would be provided by that function.
“The work of this JTF is critical to eliminate costly, time-consuming steps and to adopt new automated processes in the media and entertainment supply chain. Together, the work advances, efficient operations, and interoperability create the foundation for improved audience measurement,” said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA.
Other JTF activities will include the collection of data on existing products for transcode, transform, and file QC, and their ability to be driven by data from UML, XML, API, script, and other machine-to-machine communication mechanisms. In addition to analyzing and publishing this data within a formal report, the JTF will analyze the data in terms of current, planned, and unplanned standards activities and publish recommendations for future activities.