AAM launches first fully automated KDM management with Deluxe Technicolor

Technology and New Products

Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and Deluxe Technicolor Digital Cinema (DTDC) announced a collaboration that they say will deliver the industry’s first truly automated KDM (Key Delivery Message) management service, “representing a significant step towards the promise of fully automated cinema management.”

KDMs are unique security keys issued by service providers of theatrical content on behalf of studios/content owners to enable film playout. With AAM’s new solution, KDMs can now be generated and delivered through the cloud directly from distributor booking systems all the way to the cinema trusted-device playout equipment with confirmed proof of delivery. All customers of AAM’s Screenwriter Theatre Management System (TMS) will be invited to sign up for the service completely free of charge.

Since the introduction of digital cinema, KDMs have been necessary to deliver content, but the process for their creation and delivery has been ripe for innovation, AAM notes. A variety of unconsolidated solutions have arisen for the booking, generation and blind delivery of KDMs, often over e-mail and physical media and without any visibility of delivery success. Manually managed theatrical equipment databases have proved hard to maintain, resulting in incorrectly targeted KDMs, high support overhead, security vulnerabilities and cancelled shows or dark screens.

The new automated KDM solution offers a major advance in responsiveness, accuracy and reliability, and is made possible through a direct integration between DTDC’s worldwide booking management systems and AAM’s Thunderstorm cloud platform, supported by AAM’s Screenwriter TMS.

A secure communications channel between each TMS and AAM’s Thunderstorm cloud allows for real-time update of DTDC’s Global Trusted Device List (TDL), the industry’s most comprehensive up-to-date database on the actual equipment installed at each cinema. This ensures that KDMs delivered through Thunderstorm to cinemas are always correctly targeted. Once at site, Screenwriter takes over to deliver directly to the target equipment. At all stages, until successful ingest, the delivery is fully tracked, thereby allowing DTDC to provide definitive proof of delivery to their customers. The whole process from booking to confirmed ingest is typically completed within minutes, with no effort required from the exhibitor.

Rich Phillips, chief technology officer at AAM, stated, “Automating KDM delivery is a critical step in streamlining how features get to screens around the world. Previous industry initiatives to automate global TDL management and to standardize automated KDM delivery have struggled to get traction. Through AAM’s advancements in cloud technologies and this groundbreaking partnership with DTDC, we now have the ability to automate global TDL management and to standardize automated KDM delivery, ultimately making KDM management seamless and invisible for our exhibitor customers.”