NAB Show: Adobe Does DRM, SeeQVault Making Gains

By Chris Tribbey

Here’s a rundown of the latest news from Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) member companies out of the 2016 NAB Show: From an eye-opening report on the state of consumer streaming to digital rights management partnerships for Adobe Primetime, Adobe waited until most everyone else got their NAB Show news out before stealing the spotlight.

Secure flash memory technology SeeQVault — an initiative launched by Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and Toshiba, under the NSM Initiatives banner — has enjoyed broad adoption and support in Japan, with nearly 40 Blu-ray Disc recorder models, more than 20 different HDTVs, 10 PC models and nearly 20 hard disc drives (HDD) supporting the technology.

Japan is an on-the-go, commute-centric society, and SeeQVault — which allows consumers to transfer recorded content to SD cards, microSD cards, USB and HDD, and play it back on any SeeQVault-enabled device — is a perfect fit for those on the go.

“Every Panasonic Blu-ray recorder in Japan supports SeeQVault, and 80% of Japanese homes have a Blu-ray recorder,” Masaya Yamamoto told the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA). “In Japan, the commute time is quite long, and [SeeQVault] is quite useful.”

The ability to download and carry most any piece of content, and then play it back with or without an internet connection on most any device, is an appealing idea for consumers. And because the content is secure and prohibits unauthorized replication, content owners can rest easy, according to Dean Short, corporate secretary for NSM. He said the major Hollywood studios requested a security audit of SeeQVault last year, and the service passed with flying colors.

But while the U.S. is not Japan (with Americans leaning toward streaming vs. downloads), Short sees how the broadcast and movie industry is in need of a secure download and playback technology, something that currently doesn’t exist in any way for consumers.

“Downloading is not dead,” Short said. He pointed out that with SeeQVault-enabled content, there’s no buffering, no reliance on WiFi, and no worries over potential security issues, all things associated with streaming.

NSM is hoping broadcast content companies and the studios soon see things the same way.


The Adobe report, done in conjunction with The Diffusion Group, found that a full 40% of consumers reported having a Netflix subscription, but it was HBO Now’s original programming that had the most positive influence on viewership among respondents, with 76% saying the service led them to watch more.

The report found that nearly 50% of adults 18-24 do not subscribe to any pay TV service, instead spending their entertainment time with OTT services (15.4 hours per week, vs. 6.7 hours a week for those over 65).

“Content remains in the living room, but via different means,” the report reads. “In addition to smartphones, other platforms are also seeing growth in user activity. Eighty-two percent of video streamers watch on a home TV, followed by 32% on smart TVs and 34% on game consoles. Generally half of streaming time is spent watching short-form video, but only 37% among 18-24s.”

In addition to the study, Adobe announced it has partnered with Intertrust Technologies to offer cloud-based digital rights management (DRM) services to Adobe Primetime, Adobe’s content distribution platform.

“By combining Adobe and Intertrust’s best-in-market capabilities, we’re ultimately providing better value to the marketplace,” said Tim Schaaff, Intertrust’s chief product officer. “By leveraging the ExpressPlay service, Adobe’s customers now gain the ability to deliver high-quality content across a diverse set of hardware and software platforms. It’s a huge win for Adobe’s customers.”

The deal calls for Intertrust to add Adobe Access to its ExpressPlay DRM service, with Adobe Primetime incorporating ExpressPlay into its platform, offering a cloud-based multi-DRM service to clients. ExpressPlay currently supports other major DRM formats, including Marlin, Microsoft PlayReady, Apple FairPlay and Google’s Widevine.

“ExpressPlay is a trusted solution for managing digital content rights and offers a broad set of functionality,” said Jeremy Helfand, VP of Adobe Primetime. “We can now better solve the complexity of multi-DRM for our customers by giving Primetime customers the ability to protect their content with a solution that simplifies and streamlines workflows.”


Amid all the noise generated at NAB, one of the biggest tech stories came outside of it: Netflix announced it would add more than 100 hours of high-dynamic range (HDR) content by August, all of it with Dolby Vision and the baseline standard, HDR 10. Another 50 hours of HDR-enabled content will be added before the end of the year.

“While 4K offers more pixels, HDR offers better pixels that have greater depth, and on HDR screens you get brighter highlights, more detail in dark scenes, and a wider color range that more closely matches the real world,” Neil Hunt, chief product officer for Netflix, wrote in a blog post. “The new HDR technology looks great, and it will keep getting better. It is more true to life than anything you’ve ever seen on a TV, giving viewers a much more realistic and stimulating TV viewing experience that might even make you want to reach for your sunglasses.”

In addition to the first season of the Netflix original series “Marco Polo,” the following Netflix content will be HDR-enabled: “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Bloodline,” “Chef’s Table,” “Hibana,” “Knights of Sidonia,” “Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Marvel’s The Defenders,” “The Do-Over” and “The Ridiculous Six.”

“Just as our catalog of 4K titles has grown over the past couple of years — now over 10 times as when we started — we plan to grow our catalog of HDR titles at a similar pace,” Hunt wrote. “We’re looking forward to providing a visually stunning experience across a diverse slate of content to Netflix members all over the world.”