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Adobe to Launch Flash Access 2.0 Next Month; Irdeto Announces Hosted Flash Access Service

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Describing the journey as "a long road," an Adobe representative announced earlier this month that Adobe will "ship our next-gen content protection product, Adobe Flash Access 2.0, next month."

Florian Pestoni, Adobe's principal product manager for rich media solutions, posting on the Flash Media Blog, repeated a claim made in initial Flash Access 2.0 briefings back in September 2009, noting "interest is high for release of the updated Flash Access product." 

"We are seeing a lot of interest in the product from partners and customers waiting for Flash Access to fill a need for stronger content protection in Flash Player," said Pestoni. "We have received great feedback from partners who have helped us improve the product. We look forward to continue working with them as they deploy Flash Access, whether internally for their own use or as the technology for enhanced content distribution and monetization services."

Pestoni says he will attend Streaming Media East in New York in early May, offering readers an opportunity to meet him, in case they missed him at last week's NAB show.

Irdeto's Hosted Service
One of those companies looking to enhance the content distribution ecosystem around Flash Access 2.0 is Irdeto, a company with a long history in controlled-access content distribution. 

"Irdeto's Adobe Flash Access 2.0 license service will be available as a hosted service," stated Jan Steenkamp, Irdeto's VP of the Americas, in a company press release. "The service will leverage Irdeto's existing international data centers and infrastructure and deploy Irdeto's patented technology that speeds and scales the delivery of licenses to mass market audiences."

In a follow-up interview, asked about the title of the press release email that stated "Irdeto will power Flash Access 2.0", Steenkamp clarified the wording to mean Irdeto obtained a license to offer a Flash Access 2.0 service, while reminding me of how long Irdeto has been in the business of controlled-access content delivery.

"Irdeto has operated a 'Media Authorization Network' (MAN) for premium on-line content since 2001," says Steenkamp, harking back to the heavily European-focused controlled access for cable and satellite delivery. "The central premise behind the MAN is that content owners, distributors and retailers need to manage end-user 'entitlements' or rights to media that they acquire through purchase, membership or subscription."

The company currently services 125 media companies in the United States, Europe and Asia, who stream, download and monetize content across the web and consumer display devices. Last week, the company announced that its Cloakware Embedded Security is being used as part of Netflix's content protection suite for its Stream Instantly content.

"Since Irdeto has many years of experience building, operating, and managing pay television systems for our customers around the world," says Steenkamp, "this experience has already been translated for broadband distribution and monetization with multiple types of digital rights management (DRM) systems. Content must be distributed online according to rights and policies that are mediated at the point of purchase and fulfilled using DRM such as Flash Access 2.0.

"With this service, companies will not only obtain license serving capability that a CDN might provide but a very comprehensive end to end pay television system," says Steenkamp." When you protect a piece of content with DRM it requires a comprehensive service to manage the DRM and associated content through its whole lifecycle to truly enable a customer to monetize content, and that's our differentiator in this instance."

After Irdeto's announcement of Flash Access 2.0 integration, following close on the heels of Irdeto's Netflix controlled-access announcement, I asked about the balance between competing with a DRM solution versus the gestalt of leveraging a DRM solution.

"Adobe has developed Flash Access 2.0 DRM for the secure delivery of premium online content," said Steenkamp. "Irdeto, in turn, has developed a scalable DRM license service to authenticate consumers and to enable content owners and distributors to implement a variety of business policies. The two go hand-in-hand and complement each other, generating a return on investment."

Selected by DECE
In early January, Adobe announced that Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) had selected the upcoming Flash Access "as one of the first approved content protection solutions required for premium video in devices that support DECE."

DECE is a consortium leading the charge towards content that may play across a variety of consumer electronic devices, in much the way that Microsoft's PlayReady works across a variety of Microsoft and third-party devices. Irdeto says its solution is similar.

"Irdeto's MAN is a progenitor of DECE's Coordinator and Digital Service Provider roles," said Steenkamp. "The launch of Irdeto's Flash Access 2.0 license service helps implement the DECE vision of enabling consumers to view high-value content on any device at any time while enabling return on investment within the content ecosystem.

"Irdeto is familiar with all facets of content management and online distribution," he continued, "and we have made significant investments to operate scalable media authorization centers on a global basis. Our involvement with DECE and our business relationship with Adobe reflect our fundamental belief that good content has intrinsic value to consumers. We believe in empowering the ecosystem of originators and distributors to offer a terrific experience to the end consumer."

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