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Companies working together to standardize CDN configuration metadata for the streaming industry

Bringing high-quality video content to billions of screens worldwide is a complex series of processes that requires careful cooperation between content publishers, content delivery networks (CDNs), and internet service providers (ISPs). To simplify and increase the efficiency of streaming video delivery, Disney Streaming and Lumen Technologies are leading an effort to produce standardized CDN configuration metadata and application programming interfaces (APIs) for the streaming video industry. The multi-year effort is made possible by both companies’ leadership and participation in the Streaming Video Alliance (SVA), a consortium of 100+ businesses in the video industry that work together to improve the streaming experience for consumers.

About the Project

  • Standardized metadata will allow content providers to use a common metadata model and a single API to publish CDN configurations to vendors.
    • Without this standardization, organizations must separately model and publish metadata within each CDN vendor’s proprietary API or management portal.
    • For large organizations with multiple brands, proprietary APIs are inefficient, error-prone, and costly – issues that negatively affect the customer experience.
  • With contributions and leadership from Disney Streaming and Lumen, the SVA recently published the first version of the Configuration Interface Specifications – the technical specifications document that will serve as the streaming industry’s guide for standardization. Version two is underway, and work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“We believe all streaming providers will benefit from standardization across commercial CDN providers and the Open Cache industry, which is why we’ve led the charge, working alongside companies like Lumen, on evangelizing this important work,” said Michael Fay, vice president, software engineering, Disney Streaming. “Hundreds of millions of subscribers already engage with Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+, and as demand increases for our direct-to-consumer platforms, we believe standardization will be a key driver in maintaining our reputation in delivering a high-quality viewing experience for subscribers at scale.”

“Lumen operates one of the largest CDNs in the world via the Lumen Edge Platform, which provides unmatched performance and speed for latency-sensitive, data-intensive applications and content,” said Pierre-louis Theron, Lumen vice president of product management for content delivery services. “Developing standards that reduce complexity for our media customers is key to our shared success, now and in the future. We will continue to contribute significant work and insight to the standardization effort, relying on the deep expertise we have gained from years of experience building and operating our own CDN.”

“Commercial CDNs and open caching systems have many common requirements when it comes to defining and publishing configuration metadata,” said Glenn Goldstein, Lumen CDN product strategist and lead editor of the SVA’s Configuration Interface Specifications. “We knew we could help the industry leverage those commonalities while still helping every company achieve its own interests. We started by agreeing upon a set of drivers that benefited all industry participants. These included standardizing feature definitions, providing for DevOps-friendly automation, and allowing technology vendors to differentiate.”

Disney Streaming is part of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED), which delivers the Company’s unparalleled storytelling to audiences worldwide across theatrical, streaming, and linear platforms. DMED is responsible for the monetization of content from the Company’s content engines — Studios, General Entertainment and Sports. This includes P&L management and operations of the Company’s portfolio of streaming services, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and Star+; its linear television channels the ABC-owned stations; theatrical film distribution; content licensing and distribution; and global advertising sales. BCS Bureau

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