Last week we announced the upcoming release of Adobe Flash Access, a new content protection solution for the Flash Platform that will be supported in Flash Player and Adobe AIR. As Product Manager for content protection at Adobe since the end of last year, I’ve been working with closely with several teams at Adobe and also with key stakeholders such as major film studios, TV networks and broadcaster. Although the software won’t be commercially available until the first half of next year, this announcement is a significant milestone … and allows me to blog about it.
Content protection (also known as digital rights management) is usually associated with anti-piracy, but it is much more than that: it is primarily a tool for monetizing content online. This enables content providers to enforce their business models, such as rental, subscription, or pay-per-view. Even for advertising-funded content, premium content generally requires adequate protection.
Adobe’s content protection solutions are widely deployed today and are used by leading content providers to distribute secure commercial content. Flash Access will raise the bar by providing a more robust and flexible solution that enables secure streaming and download of premium content. To learn more about our current content protection solutions (including RTMPE and SWF verification), check out this whitepaper that discusses how to protect streaming video using Flash Media Server and provides an introduction to Flash Media Rights Management Server, the precursor to Flash Access.
You may be asking yourself, what does all this have to do with me? How will I be able to leverage Flash Access? The answer of course depends on what you do. Here are a few examples:
- Content distributors such as broadcasters or online retailers can deploy rental, subscription, and download-to-own business models, as well as using advertising to monetize video assets.
- Content owners may use Flash Access as part of a direct-to-consumer offering, or may implement a B2B e-screening tool to distribute pre-release content to retailers, restricting access to authorized users.
- Service providers will be able to offer a hosted service to independent content producers and distributors who prefer to outsource their DRM infrastructure.
- Developers may use built-in support for Flash Access in Flash Player and AIR to develop rich, interactive experiences around premium commercial content.
- In the enterprise, Flash Access can be integrated into existing systems to enable secure distribute of audiovisual material, such as company meetings or high value training material.
Flash Access represents a big step forward in content protection and we are very excited about the opportunities that it creates for our customers and partners. You can learn more about Flash Access at http://www.adobe.com/go/flashaccess — I recommend downloading the whitepaper, which provides a comprehensive high-level overview and enough technical detail to whet your appetite.