I recently caught up with Keith Kocho, founder of ExtendMedia to discuss how Extend is supporting SanDisk's recently announced Sansa TakeTV player and companion Fanfare application. In a recent review, I was impressed with SanDisk's approach, which is somewhat akin to the iPod-iTunes pairing. Extend (disclaimer, a VideoNuze sponsor) is playing a key behind-the-scenes role, which will become especially important as FanFare transitions from its current trial model to a hybrid ad-supported and paid download approach.
Keith explained that Extend's OpenCASE product is providing the ability for SanDisk to manage Fanfare's content catalog, create the business rules for each piece of content and deliver encryption depending on the rules. OpenCASE also allows SanDisk to bake ads into the video file as its currently doing, or dynamically insert them as SanDisk intends to do in the next phase.
The screen grab below illustrates how a piece of content uploaded to OpenCASE can be delivered into Fanfare with appropriate rules.
Kate Purmal, SanDisk's SVP/GM for Digital Content offered this perspective, "OpenCASE is seamless and flexible and has proven to be truly 'plug and play; with our encryption and DRM software with Extend's business rules layered on top. As we expand into our next phase with more content and commerce options, OpenCASE is going to be able to easily scale up with Fanfare."
I think Kate's latter point hits the nail on the head: in the future, for any of these digital video stores to succeed - whether they are tied to a device, as Take TV is to Fanfare, or they aren't - the digital video stores of the future are going to all offer hybrid approaches for consumer to access content.
The concept of an iTunes, which only offers an a la carte purchase/download model is going to quickly become antiquated. Instead consumers will be offered choices including a la carte downloads, ad-supported downloads, ad-supported streaming, ad-supported and paid subscriptions and more. This is one of the hallmarks of broadband - that it offers content providers and aggregators unlimited monetization flexibility depending on the circumstances and rights. As such, I think that platforms such as OpenCASE and others that can support flexible models are going to become increasingly valuable.