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OATC History

Summary by Year

2008 - 2009   Pioneering Authentication Deployments & Trials
2010 February First Use Case Document Completed & Released
  August Decision to Form a Technical Standards Organization
  September OATC Incorporated
  December First OATC Board Meeting
2011 September First Annual OATC Member Meeting
2012 March Public Website Launched
  June Live TVE Signaling and Resource Use Monitoring (RUM) WGs Formed
  September Open Multimedia Authorization Protocol (OMAP) 1.0 Published
  October Second Annual OATC Member Meeting
2013 February TVE Usability WG Launched
  March Live TV Signaling Recommended Practice and SCTE Collaboration Launched
  June Metadata Feed Recommended Practice Released
  October Third Annual OATC Member Meeting; 45 Day Plan Initiative Launched
2014 February Extended Authentication Session Experience, Home Based Authentication, TVE Content Search & Navigation, Social Login, Authentication Measurement, Authentication, Error Handling, and Marketing WGs Launched
  March Online Resource Usage Monitoring (RUM) Specification Released
  June Usability Testing Completed
  July Social Login for MVPDs Recommendation Practice Released
    Authentication Conversion Funnel for Content Programmer's Apps and Sites Recommended Practice Released
  August Error Messaging for TV Everywhere Authentication and Authorization Recommended Practice Released
  September Home-Based Authentication (HBA) Recommended Practice Released
  October Fourth Annual OATC Member Meeting
2015 May HBA Workshop Held in Chicago for Members and Non- members
  October Home-Based Authentication User Experience Guidelines for TV Everywhere Recommended Practice
    Usability Recommendations For TV Everywhere Recommended Practice
  December Fifth Annual OATC Member Meeting


The original work undertaken by OATC included developing Use Case and recommendations based on existing standards for Authentication ("AuthN") and Authorization ("AuthZ"). These recommendations were based on standards developed by the Oasis Technical Security Services group known as SAML with additions and modifications needed to adopt these standards to the Pay TV industry. Given that there was no central ID authority the SAML model of IDP's (Identity Providers) and Service (content) Providers was a natural fit for OATC environment.


After completing the initial AuthN and AuthZ use cases it came to the OATC members' attention that a parallel effort with a very similar SAML-based solution was in development by the Cablelabs organization. The OATC Board decided to reach out and coordinate the AuthN specification to avoid duplication of efforts. The OATC then focused on developing its own Multimedia Authorization spec based on the OpenID and Oauth standards which culminated in the publishing of the OMAP Open Multimedia Authorization Protocol in 2011.

The OMAP specification addresses Authorization - the process of granting or denying access to protected media content. It defines the architecture, protocols and data formats needed to build and deploy interoperable systems that authorize access to protected media content on any Internet-connected device. Various authentication methods, such as SAML 2.0, may be used as needed in conjunction with this specification

This specification is compliant with the Oauth 2.0 protocol. Oauth 2.0 provides support for both browser and native applications, is natively RESTful with a strong developer framework support, and has broad and growing industry adoption.

While the OMAP spec was forward looking and based on then emerging Oauth 2.0 standards, it has remained mostly a theoretical spec as most of the OATC participants had already deployed SAML based solutions for Authentication and could not justify the time and expense to re-work existing systems to conform to the OMAP standard. However, as the TVE ecosystem matures and provides parental control capabilities where access may be granted or denied to different program rating levels or to specific programs, the Authorization capabilities of OMAP may yet see commercial deployment.


After the release of the OMAP spec in 2012, the OATC created a Usability Working Group whose mission was to improve the consumer experience. The working group makes recommendations on ways to improve the consumer experience by adopting common iconography, naming conventions and approaches to building a consistent visual experience for the user. OATC collaborated with CTAM, the marketing arm of the Cable TV industry, and this led to work on user testing and recommended practices published by CTAM and an Error Messaging recommendation which was released by OATC In 2014.

In 2014 additional working groups were formed and work began on Extended Authentication Session Experience, Home Based Authentication, TVE Content Search & Navigation, Social Login, Authentication Measurement, and Authentication Error Handling.

The Extended Authentication Session Experience "Ease" working group focuses on recommendations around extending the TTL (Time to Live) of the initial authentication tokens and how the distributors and content owners should handle a user who was previously authenticated but their token has expired.

The Home Based Authentication "HBA" working group deals with recommended practices for distributors who want to auto-authenticate users who are accessing content provider portals from within their home network. HBA also recommends how to handle the in-to-out-of-home transition.

The TVE Content Search & Navigation working group's mission is to create recommended practices to standardize the metadata and description of content and how that content can be used (which platforms it can be distributed on). This is for content exchange between content provider(s) and distributors rather than the consumer.

The Social Login for MVPDs working group recommends practices for MVPD's who want to can use Social Networks logins to improve the TV Everywhere user experience for their customers.

The Authentication Measurement working group has defined a set of metrics/funnel steps for the authentication process as it pertains to a Content Programmer's TV-Everywhere site/app. Subsequent goals include adding representative data to each of the steps to better understand where the biggest problems are and to create a set of reference implementation guidelines. Future updates will focus on second screen authentication use cases and Social ID use cases.

The Authentication Error Handling working group recommends standardized Text messages and Error codes for use by MVPD's when authentication or authorization calls return with an error(s) message, in order to enable consistent reporting across sites from multiple companies and a consistent experience for consumers.


During 2015, OATC released Recommended Practices for Home Based Authentication ("HBA") User Experience Guidelines and OATC TVE Usability Recommendations. Several HBA deployments by OATC members helped raise the number of successful logins and were partially responsible for increases in consumer awareness and use of TV Everywhere.

OATC 2.0 metadata and live signaling was incorporated into SCTE 224 spec.

OATC provided feedback and changes to the CableLabs Online Content Access specification ("OLCA") which is used in some form by many OATC members. OATC proposed enhancements in areas of device signaling, network signaling (in /out of home) and for parental ratings. These changes are expected to be incorporated in the next OLCA revision by CableLabs in 2016.

Future Work: In 2016 OATC plans to focus on several initiatives:

  1. Improving the home based authentication experience.
  2. Managing parental ratings and controls in the TVE Everywhere environment.
  3. Recommended practices for use of RUM in the context of concurrent streaming.

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