M&E Journal: Entertainment Auditing Reaches a New Level

By Chris Johnson, Global Director, Anti-Piracy & Compliance Programs, Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) –

This month marks 15 years that I have been actively involved in auditing third-party vendors on behalf of content owners and studios. From forensic work tracking down stolen Beatles tapes to copyright and licensing verification during the early CD days, to my current content protection certification efforts on behalf of CDSA, my career has evolved with a changing media and threat landscape.

However, the past six months saw the most accelerated change I can remember. CDSA’s 2017 security audit and assessment visits by its worldwide audit team have increased 143 percent in 2017 versus 2016, reflecting a radical adoption of industry security processes among the film and television industry’s leading technology partners and vendors.

According to CDSA’s year-end 2017 forecast, association auditors will have visited 277 sites this year compared to 114 sites that were visited for these same programs the previous year. The greatest growth comes from the U.S. and Canada, and the predominant business category now being reviewed worldwide are digital services. And while the bulk of the annual work is studio-assigned assessment reviews, the core, vendor support of CDSA’s certification program alone grew by over 28 percent.

These numbers reflect a growing focus on security by the vendor community that now widely recognizes that content protection preparedness is an integral business responsibility for their customers, their companies and their employees. Vendors recognize that security has quickly moved to the top of the list for studios evaluating the services of their production partners.

What’s more, there’s been an increased diversification of those services now being audited. From the core digital services companies, to post production, to on-set productions, cloud services and localization, virtually everyone who touches content prior to release is joining the industry-wide security effort, which itself is widening from the majors, who have long led the charge, to independent studios and emerging OTT giants.

Security needs differ from movies to TV

As the sphere of content protection expands, the Hollywood security community must respond to calls for better work efficiencies and transparency in more application specific workflows and best practices. It is widely understood that the security needs of the television production and distribution communities are different from those applied to major motion pictures.

Securing a localization house is very different than a movie set.

Of course, the content protection and security landscape will shift, and new threats will emerge, but with a tighter, more security conscious entertainment business culture across multiple business units — one that starts at the screenwriter’s keyboard and follows the content in every step to the final distribution hand off — our industry can save millions of dollars, protect jobs and revenue throughout multiple engagement channels, and advance the global, consumer entertainment experience.


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