The notion of a universal identifier for entertainment assets began to surface in the 1990s, as the number of distribution media started to multiply (including SD & HD broadcast content, video tapes, laser disks, DVDs, VOD, hotel and airplane streaming, etc.)
But it was the internet that sealed the deal. Once it became clear that the internet was here to stay, and that bandwidth would be continuously increasing, it became clear that purely digital distribution, liberated from any particular physical medium, would be direction in which the world was going.
The first attempt at establishing a world-wide standard was ISAN (International Standard Audiovisual Number), which arose in 2000, and was officially established in 2003, overseen by a Swiss non-profit association. It never quite gained the traction hoped for, mostly because the relatively sparse metadata maintained in ISAN records has not proved adequate to a sufficiently differentiate different titles and their distribution variants.
In 2008, a consortium of large players in the emerging digital distribution sphere, trying to incorporate lessons learned from the ISAN experience. The EIDR standard was created, and launched in 2010, with a few features that made it a better fit for the commercial and technical needs of the industry it was designed to serve:
- EIDR records are industry-standard XML documents
- EIDR maintains deep metadata to remove title ambiguity
- Associated commercial organizations (e.g. producers, distributors, etc.)
- Alternate titles, and their respective languages
- Different languages associated with different versions of the work
- Different commercial manifestations of the work (including encodings & packagings
- High granularity of identifiers, down to the level of clips, composites, or encodings
Since its establishment, EIDR has been embraced by all of the big studios, and currently has over one million titles registered.
We are a product of EIDR's growth: The Title Registrar was created to make EIDR identifiers available to organizations that don't have the resources or need to become EIDR members, or to develop integrations with EIDR APIs and tools.