Every airport has it: a three-letter-code making sure that your bag labelled ‘PTJ’ is travelling with you to Portland in Australia (and not to Portland in Maine, USA, which is ‘PDX’). Other examples are phone or bank account numbers, licence plates for cars, ISBNs for books or tax IDs – we are surrounded by all sorts of unique identifiers that provide clarity and distinction, where ambiguity is the enemy.
Also in the media sector, many brands or channels sound similar, be it by coincidence or on purpose, as malicious actors try to capitalise on it. This can confuse not only audiences, but also algorithmic-driven recommender systems of search or social media platforms that drive our attention, along with advertising dollars – possibly in the wrong direction.
The GMR is currently spearheading a global effort to develop and implement unique media identifiers, which don’t exist thus far. To that end, we have initiated an official industry standard setting process through ISO, the International Organization for Standardisation, facilitated by the national German Standardisation Body DIN, to develop a convention about their format and syntax. This initiative is supported by a range of different stakeholders, including professional associations, national regulatory authorities, international organisations and private sector actors.