AMWA updates MXF for commercials

The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) has released an update to the MXF Commercial Delivery specification, AS-12. The constrained version of MXF has been developed to enable more efficient handling of commercials through the many transactional and media processing operations between conception and air.

As broadcasters look to serve commercials to long tail delivery platforms as well as their primary channels, controlling costs is all-important. Many versions may exist of the same commercial, adding confusion to the cross-platform commercial operations. Versions may be sourced from different distribution routes, arriving with different wrappers and codecs, as well as different aspect ratios.

MXF Commercial Delivery aims to solve two problems: unique identification, and defining a master spot for the creation of long-tail versions. MXF Commercial Delivery unambiguously identifies the spot through the Ad-ID unique identifier carried in a “digital slate,” which includes the core business metadata necessary for interoperability: advertiser name, brand and product names, commercial title, commercial length, and AFD value associated with the commercial.

The digital slate can be used to reconcile the video and audio components of the commercial with the traffic instruction thus preventing expensive mistakes. The Ad-ID unique identifier ensures that what the advertiser ordered gets to air.

MXF Commercial Delivery, AS-12, can be used with other MXF Application Specifications, including AS-02, AS-03, AS-10 and AS-11, which wrap video and audio along with other data like captions and subtitles.

“AS-12 is at the center of the toolkit for advertising interoperability, which demonstrate that universal adoption of Ad-ID will make the marketing supply chain more efficient and productive, thereby enabling the marketing ecosystem — including agencies, media and suppliers — to become increasingly capable”, said Harold S Geller Chief Growth Officer, of Ad-ID LLC, and a member of the AMWA board.

The AS-12 metadata or digital slate can be created early in the production process to uniquely identify the commercial. Through the use of the guaranteed unique Ad-ID, the rekeying of identifiers that typically happens today is avoided. House codes used by agencies or broadcasters are replaced with the Ad-ID, avoiding many of the issue of misidentified commercials that have been commonplace.

The Ad-ID system was developed by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). It is the only asset identification system supported by the two trade associations and is the preferred advertising identification of the major TV networks.