The Academy Awards are just around the corner, and, as usual, there is great anticipation regarding who we will see take home the Oscars.
There is also anticipation about some of what we won’t see. A host, for example.
Something else I expect you will not hear about at the Oscars this year is the role digital security plays in the motion picture industry. Not long ago, films were delivered to movie theaters in cans, then to theaters and homes on optical disks. But now, the trend is for movies to be distributed primarily through digital streaming. And that means digital security.
One example of digital security in play involves Qube Cinema. Qube manufactures servers, projectors, mastering and distribution technology for digital cinema and saw a unique opportunity to distribute movies via hard drive and/or satellite. The biggest hurdle, and the reason the film industry lagged behind other industries in converting from analog to digital, was security. Content owners – the companies producing films – were concerned about piracy and wanted high security measures.
You certainly can’t blame them. At this point, it’s been well-established that content is king. It’s why studios clamber for the best scripts and why Hulu, Amazon, and Apple continue to sign multi-million dollar deals with some of the biggest names out there. Content is the reason why sitting down in front of Netflix is part of the cultural zeitgeist, and why HBO draws in so many viewers on Sunday nights (Game of Thrones, will you ever be topped?) Developing moving, thoughtful, and entertaining content takes time, ambition, brainpower, and a lot of creativity. So why leave it vulnerable to manipulation, malware, or other data security malfeasance?
To address the need for efficient security in distributing digital cinema, Qube used nCipher hardware security modules (HSMs) to develop an easy-to-use distribution system with the strongest level of security available in the industry. In digital cinema, movies are encoded and encrypted into a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) and distributed via hard drive or satellite feed, then can be decrypted at the theater with information contained in a unique Key Delivery Message (KDM) that unlocks the film for a specific theater, timeframe and number of showings.
Our HSMs provide the highest grade of protection for content encryption keys in the industry, while simultaneously ensuring that keys are never lost. For distributors and theater owners, the Qube system also provides a level of operational ease that removes any barriers to implementing high security, or temptation to sacrifice security for the sake of convenience.
I don’t mean to overstate our role here. We’re not cinematographers or film editors. But, as devotees of digital security, we’re proud to make an unsung contribution to the entertainment industry – and the viewers who love good content.