Cable, technology, media firms form digital registry

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Major studios, cable and technology companies on Wednesday announced the launch of an Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR) to track movies, TV shows and other assets much the way books are coded.

Likening it to the International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) system used to identify books, executives involved in the initiative said the registry was developed to make it easier for businesses to search, track and report revenue of an asset, cutting costs and streamlining operations.

The registry is expected to be available to members in early 2011.

The initiative is backed by a broad group of industry players like Comcast, Walt Disney Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures, Sony Corp, and others, while talks with other parties are ongoing.

Most companies today are using disparate systems to catalog their own entertainment assets, making the process of tracking content across multiple systems difficult, executives said.

Executives said for content producers, the ability to register their assets will simplify their post-production process and potentially lead to greater distribution of their products.

“We believe this standard will improve the flow of information among the companies we work with throughout the industry,” said Mark Hess, senior vice president of Advanced Business and Technology Development at Comcast.

The IDs within EIDR will function similarly to the ISBN code for books. The registry will catalog and assign a single, unique unit of identification to movies and TV assets -- from entire movies down to clips and composites -- and can be used for both physical and digital video media that are part of the movie and television supply chain.

Editing by Bernard Orr