January 9, 2017
As studios and exhibitors grapple to find a way to alter the movie release window to serve the changing audience for movies, NAGRA unveiled Early @t Home, a new platform aimed at both studios and exhibitors, at CES in Las Vegas. The platform combines NAGRA’s secure cloud solution with purpose-built hardware to enable content creators, studios, and theater chains to use “first release content” to directly connect with the consumer. The platform offers access to real-time analytics and provides a unique engagement opportunity through synchronized extras that could include complementary virtual and augmented reality experiences. The HD and UHD hardware solutions are priced to compete with other media dongles, but do not require specific app development.
The platform includes a number of content protection technologies like NexGuard forensic watermarking and anti-piracy services that provide a secure delivery conduit pivotal to the success of expanded early release efforts. But the CastDongle’s lower price point, roughly 20 to 25 percent less than similar devices, depending on whether you select the UHD or HD version, makes it feasible for theater chains and studios to offer them as loyalty program incentives, treat them as a customer acquisition cost, or use them as an additional revenue stream.
Early @t Home’s combination of features is designed to enable a personal screening room experience that delivers a new model for studios and theaters to connect directly with consumers. Additionally, it could allow exhibitors to grow additional revenue through repeat viewing, digital extras, and e-commerce, while maintaining the theatrical window.
The platform’s user experience is similar to that of the Chromecast, but the CastDongle can be accessed and controlled through any web browser. This approach keeps the platform software agnostic while avoiding app development costs and providing website branding opportunities. One intriguing aspect of this method is that it democratizes the analytics associated with the content.
The solution could balance the competitive advantage disintermediation has provided to new entrants like Netflix, Amazon, and Google. NAGRA intends to provide users (whether they be exhibitors or studios) metrics and analysis. This real-time data will provide key insight into their media’s performance while the content is still early in the release window.
Meanwhile, cloud synchronization will allow Early @t Home to become an experimental platform for storytelling in AR and VR. Though not limited to these experiences, the platform could provide real-time feedback on their success and enable a post-theater experience that builds brand loyalty.
The HD CastDongle will be available this summer with the UHD version coming in Q4.