[Laracasts Snippet #98] Defining an ideal media architecture - Just for fun

Posted 3 months ago by NoelDeMartin

I've been listening to the podcast for a while and I find it really interesting :). Many times I've got some thoughts about an episode, but I don't know exactly where to put them. I guess Jeffrey is fine with us reaching out in twitter, but I find it too ephemeral. @JeffreyWay would it make sense to add a disqus comments box like we have for lessons?

Anyways, for this episode I thought it'd be fun to share my thoughts on an "ideal" architecture for consuming media. I've been thinking about this for a while, and most of the things Jeffrey brings up in the podcast are thoughts I've had as well. So just for fun, or as an exercise on software design, let's talk about what'd be an ideal architecture - if you could remove the current landscape and legal restrictions from the equation.

So here's my proposal to get the ball rolling. Let's define three actors:

  • Producers: These are the ones who make the media and own the distribution rights (for example: Disney).
  • Distributors: These are the ones who bring the content to users' screens (for example: Netflix).
  • Consumers: Users who want to watch a Movie, TV Show, etc. (for example: me).

On an ideal scenario, consumers own a license to watch a movie. This license would only be paid once (similar to buying a BlueRay). Owning this license would allow any consumer to watch a movie in any streaming service free of charge.

How does a distributor earn money then? With a subscription. But this subscription would only cover using the platform. The actual ability of watching a movie would depend on the user holding a valid license for each piece of media. Imagine using Netflix with this architecture: you'd have access to all movies and once you try to watch one it either asks for the license or sells you one. In this regard, Netflix would act only as a mediator between the Producer and the Consumer. What would differentiate Netflix from its competitors then? The user experience. Maybe you like Netflix's interface better than Youtube. Or maybe you even prefer to use an Open Source client that is free.

In this scenario, consumers would have a collection of licenses and pay a subscription for the streaming services they like the most. But it'd be free to change between them without losing any media content.

Some notes about the technology:

  • The actual data of the media would be hosted by the producers. Distributors could cache media that is requested by multiple consumers to speed up the streaming. Or even use distributed storage like IPFS.
  • There should be a standard protocol so that distributors and producers communicate properly, and licenses would also need to follow a standard format.
  • Licenses could include details about the license holder to prevent piracy and invalidate leaked licenses.

Thoughts? :D

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