MGM Studios Case Study

MGM Studios Case Study

by Kosish Bhandari
Digital Transformation Using Amazon Web Services and Blockchain-based Technology

MGM Studios sought a digital transformation by building a suite of products, including its corporate website, mgm.com and a secure platform to distribute content to its buyers worldwide. The platform had to support the safe distribution of 5000 existing Films and TV titles, pre-release titles, and over 1.5 million related assets. Various groups across MGM studies wanted to leverage this platform for corporate marketing, Media/Advertising Licensing, Promotions and Award Considerations, and internal research.


Challenges
  • Create a platform and infrastructure that supports the secure distribution of 5000 existing Films and TV titles, new upcoming titles, and over 350,000 related assets.
  • Infrastructure should scale to add new products and workflows as needed efficiently.
  • Zero-trust Security Model
  • The platform should provide actionable insights as feedback to the teams.

First of its kind, Blockchain-based technology

Practical Logix worked diligently to architect and implement a platform (with a suite of applications) for MGM. The platform integrated closely with Eluv.io, a blockchain DAPP based on Ethereum that utilizes intelligent contract logic to drive access, stream customization, and metadata delivery. With features including Just In Time (JIT) video delivery, Session-based watermarking, DRM wrapping, ML tagging, Audio/Video transcoding, image/video processing, and much more, the integration offers a consolidated and inherently secure platform for MGM’s media and asset management workflows. The platform relies on an embedded blockchain ledger, contract-backed content, and dynamic composition, enabling personalization, rights control, monetization, and re-use of media and metadata across properties and devices. The team at PL closely collaborated with both MGM and Eluvio’s groups to research and architect a core infrastructure for MGM that powers a Zero-trust security model by leveraging Eluvio’s blockchain-based interfaces to retrieve content based on permissions.


 Zero-trust Security Architecture

 

Practical Logix worked closely with MGM and Eluvio to implement a security architecture that leveraged the inherent security offered by distributed blockchain architecture and a third-party OAuth provider for advanced permission and role management. This trustless model prevents supply chain hacks from compromising the underlying hardware on which the content is stored. This model allows for a potent combination of OAuth group-based and intelligent contract-based permission systems for content access. The applications and infrastructure that Practical Logix built for MGM honor these access policies by communicating to the right security provider at the appropriate level needed. Strict DRM policies and online and offline streaming implementation helped MGM comply with standard industry practices. The combination of these security models has proven to support complex workflows for distributing and managing titles and assets to multiple teams inside and outside MGM Studios.

Additionally, the team at Practical Logix worked with the MGM security and operations team to carefully craft DevSecOps processes to bolster further the security in the storage and deployment of software and other files related to the applications and infrastructure.


Focus on Reusability of Software and Content

As part of the initial engagement, Practical Logix performed due diligence on MGM’s multi-year strategy and existing partnerships with COTS systems for various workflows and needs. The team offered an approach to architecting a platform that followed the deciding principles of Build vs. Buy.  The resulting platform, built on Open Source technologies and AWS, decoupled the integration of third-party systems while powering the frontend suite of applications at scale. The platform also relies on Headless architecture  to further support the fast development and deployment of applications. Users of the platform can also securely access content via mobile apps and TV, built using cross-platform and native technologies and DRMs. Furthermore, the integration with Eluvio as the media and asset management platform offered the reusability of ingested content with multi-level permission-based security in multiple applications on the platform.


Actionable Insights with Analytics

Learning from the platform’s users was an essential step on the journey of their multi-year Digital Transformation. Hence, Practical Logix helped to build a custom analytics platform for capturing and presenting the users’ behavioral data on the platform using AWS. The collection of data streams is engineered and stored with reusability in mind; hence, it can be consumed by any presentation layer if MGM decides to employ a COTS system in the future.


Outcomes

The Practical Logix team, expertise, and processes, combined with MGM Studios’ digital strategy, enabled the Digital Transformation quickly. Due to the focus on the reusability of software and content, MGM can roll out applications quickly, securely, and cost-efficiently on the platform. Due to the novelty in the implementation of the platform, it was shortlisted as one of 5 finalists for the 2021 IBC Innovation awards out of 1000s of applicants.

Practical Logix reduced overhead in time and cost by bridging the gap between technology and business in an unprecedented fashion. The outcome of this relationship is an excellent example of the fact that following security, industry processes, and strict standards do not have to slow down the growth of a company; but, in turn, can be streamlined and leveraged as a strong foundation.