Media Content Distribution

Today multimedia content is delivered via broadcast networks, the Internet, IPTV, and mobile. Delivery methods include broadcast, unicast (e.g. 3G streaming services), multicast and peer-to-peer, but the experience is seldom homogeneous and seamless for the customers. Content delivery by its very nature also includes a number of restrictions and rules regarding rights.

The worlds of broadcast and telecom traditionally have had their own standards track, based on different commercial requirements. Convergence between both worlds for content delivery results in a proliferation of technical options and specifications, which result in a "standards maze" and a lack of clear business models supported by an accepted technology. This does not serve business and customers' interests, as broadcasters, telecom operators and internet players are offering what could be seen as similar services from a consumer perspective.

In addition commercial solutions developed by different market players do not interoperate across platforms. The crux of the matter is that at one end, content providers face the challenge to provide different content formats to the various distribution pipes, which in turn generates unbearable costs, whilst at the other end, customers' buy-in remains well below expectations.

Many in the industry point to the fact that without interoperability and cross-platform solutions for media distribution that really meet content providers and end users' needs, market figures for digital media distribution may stay what they are today and investments may well exceed profits by far.

TC Media Content Distribution (now closed), was the ETSI technical body in charge of guiding and coordinating standardization work aiming the successful overall development of multimedia systems (television and communication) responding to the present and future market requests on media content distribution.

In the scope of convergence of broadcast, internet and telecommunications standards in relation to digital media distribution, TC MCD was in contact with other relevant bodies within and outside ETSI, and fostered a modular and harmonized standardization environment aiming to coordinate efforts and prevent duplication of activities.   
TC MCD addressed the domain of interoperability of content distribution and the related services in a converged environment supporting IPTV, Mobile TV and broadcast TV. This included (but was not restricted to):

  • Organizing or steering workgroups to facilitate integration and interoperability between/ among different ETSI, 3GPP and other related Standard Development Organisations used to for similar functionality
  • Arranging a platform where use cases and business models will be discussed in the context of economics and global dynamics in order to assess viability of a given standard
  • Coordinating cross standard market requirements and use cases
  • Identifying regulatory issues induced by convergence effects
  • Initiating standardization work (standards, technical reports and other deliverables) on areas where a significant gap is recognized and where ETSI is seen as the best player
  • Building liaisons with other working groups, SDO's and other Bodies, as appropriate
  • Integrating in ETSI work CE manufacturers worldwide, not only European, as real situation is that most of this manufacturing is done outside our border lines.

The activities of TC MCD included the following:

  • Specify MCD requirements and provide a representation (e.g. functional diagram, or more) based on a thorough analysis of different use cases and business models
  • Map current standards with the representation and describe the relationships among standards
  • Perform a detailed gap analysis highlighting the challenges in the end to end delivery of content including analysis of current and future business dynamics
  • Provide implementations guidelines (combinations of standards) aimed at enabling a viable scenario and fulfil the basic requirements of a MCD framework
  • Provide the basis for Inter standard profiling to realize this MCD framework vision
  • Provide overall guidelines to ETSI Technical Bodies to foster a co-ordinated development of standards for digital media distribution across unicast, multicast and broadcast networks
  • Liaise with other relevant standard bodies or organizations to reuse their solutions in the general framework and facilitate an adoption of a consistent set of worldwide solutions
  • Facilitate discussions with relevant bodies on regulatory issues and content providers to help in the introduction of new business models, taking into account existing and evolving business relationships.

TC MCD aimed to refer to existing work done elsewhere, or encouraged existing groups to fulfil its requirements, and only where such work did not meet TC MCD requirements would perform detailed specification work itself.

The following is a list of the last published ETSI standards on media content distribution.

A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search. Via this interface you can also subscribe for alerts on updates of ETSI standards.

Standard No. Standard title.
TR 102 688-9 Media Content Distribution (MCD); MCD framework; Part 9: Content Delivery Infrastructures (CDI)
TS 102 990 Media Content Distribution (MCD); CDN Interconnection, use cases and requirements
TR 102 688-8 Media Content Distribution (MCD); MCD framework; Part 8: Audience Measurement
TR 102 988 Media Content Distribution (MCD); Programme guide information distribution, situation and perspective
TR 102 989 Media Content Distribution (MCD); Subtitles distribution, situation and perspectives
TR 102 794 Media Content Distribution (MCD); 3D Gaming Graphics Delivery Overview
TR 102 688-1 Media Content Distribution (MCD); MCD framework; Part 1: Overview of interest areas
TR 102 688-2 Media Content Distribution (MCD); MCD framework; Part 2: Views and needs of content providers
TR 102 688-3 Media Content Distribution (MCD); MCD framework; Part 3: Regulatory issues, social needs and policy matters