The Oscars reveals the tech behind its highly secure online Academy Screening Room


The screening process for the Oscars has moved away from the process of judges receiving DVDs to a secure digital ‘Academy Screening Room’.

The change has been enabled through a collaboration between video platform Brightcove, Nagra (the digital TV division of the Kudelski Group), Akamai and BuyDRM.

Specifically, the tech used is the Brightcove platform, Nagra NexGuard streaming forensic watermarking, Akamai adaptive media delivery, and the BuyDRM MultiKey Service.

Together these enable the Academy to control piracy across its screening platform by auditing content, as well as tracking down stolen content and distribution channels.

Brightcove transcodes the content, which is then secured using a specific mode of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. This travels with the video content as it passes through the internet to the viewer. At playback – through the Brightcove Player – the user’s device or PC acquires a DRM license key from the BuyDRM MultiKey Service to begin playback.

Furthermore, content is stored on and delivered from the Akamai Intelligent Edge platform, which processes and applies the Academy’s unique forensic watermarking pattern per end-user across the delivery workflow.

Judges can access content through desktop and mobile, as well as tvOS applications built using Brightcove’s technology.

Bev Kite, chief information officer, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said: “Forensic watermarking is a significant breakthrough for the Academy, as well as for the entire film industry because it demonstrates how video technologies have evolved to include critical security functionalities that protect against piracy. As a result of our work with Brightcove, Nagra, Akamai, and BuyDRM, the Academy can continue to deliver content to our members, while strengthening security measures to maintain confidentiality, and protect artists and intellectual property.”