The landscape of on-demand streaming, known as Over-The-Top (OTT), has undergone a remarkable transformation since its inception. From the early days of cable television to the current era of network disruption, the journey has been both dynamic and revolutionary. As we venture into 2024, we explore the significant milestones, technological advancements, and disruptive forces that have shaped the OTT industry. Join us on this comprehensive guide as we delve into the past, present, and future of OTT, unlocking the secrets behind its growth and influence.
1. The Early Days: From Cable Television to Network Disruption
In the nascent stages, OTT emerged as a disruptive force challenging the traditional realms of cable television. Explore how the shift from scheduled programming to on-demand content set the stage for a revolution in the entertainment industry.
2. Riding the Digital Wave: Technological Advancements Fueling OTT Growth
Technological innovations have been the driving force behind the expansion of OTT. Dive into the digital wave that propelled on-demand streaming to new heights, creating an ecosystem where viewers have unparalleled control over their content consumption.
3. The Social Media Age: OTT Goes Web 2.0 and Mobile
With the advent of Web 2.0 and the rise of mobile technology, OTT platforms transformed into versatile, interactive hubs. Uncover how social media integration and mobile accessibility reshaped the way audiences engage with on-demand content.
4. Television Redefined: Smart TVs and Converging Experiences
The evolution of Smart TVs marked a pivotal moment in the OTT journey. Explore how these intelligent devices, coupled with converging experiences, elevated the viewer’s interaction with on-demand streaming services.
5. Netflix: The Disruptive Trailblazer of the OTT Revolution
No discussion about the OTT revolution is complete without acknowledging the disruptive influence of Netflix. Chart the course of Netflix’s ascent and its impact on the industry, setting a precedent for other streaming services.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Turning Point for the OTT Landscape
The global pandemic accelerated the adoption of on-demand streaming. Examine how the surge in demand during lockdowns reshaped consumer behavior and fueled further growth in the OTT landscape.
6. Battleground for Dominance: Warner Bros. vs. Disney+ in the Streaming Wars
Witness the streaming wars unfold as industry giants like Warner Bros. and Disney+ compete for dominance. Analyze the strategies, content battles, and market dynamics that define this intense competition.
Looking Ahead: Innovations and Challenges in the Future of OTT
Peer into the future of OTT and anticipate the innovations and challenges that lie ahead. From emerging technologies to evolving consumer preferences, understand the factors that will shape the next phase of on-demand streaming.
In conclusion, the history of the OTT industry is a saga of innovation, disruption, and adaptation. From humble beginnings to becoming a cornerstone of modern entertainment, OTT has redefined how we consume content. As we embrace the future, the industry must navigate through challenges and continue to innovate, ensuring a dynamic and engaging experience for viewers worldwide.
The banking sector is changing because of new digital ideas. This brings new problems with keeping things safe. Recently, reports have shown that bad computer things can cause trouble in the financial world. So, it’s really important to manage the risks and make sure computer networks are safe. Bad people who want to steal money online are working hard to do it. This makes it more likely that computer information will be stolen, and it’s getting harder to stop them.
Rules made by governments and important banks, like EU DORA and G7, are telling banks to be extra safe online. These rules are made because of past problems and to stop future ones. The online world is changing a lot, with more things becoming digital and depending on other companies. There are also problems between countries that make online safety even harder. Banks need to be ready to protect themselves.
Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) make things even more complicated. They can help more people use banking, but they also make it easier for bad people to steal money online.
In this competitive world, where regular banks, new online banks, and tech companies all want to be successful, having a smooth online experience is very important. But, it’s also important to remember that there are dangers online. Using new technology is good, but it has to be safe from new problems.
Increasing Cyber Risks for Banks
As banks and financial services providers continue to grow and innovate, a holistic approach to cybersecurity informed by the latest regulatory insights and threat intelligence will be crucial to ensure sustainable and secure progress.
Cybersecurity in Banking
In the fast-changing world of digital banking, the people who protect against computer bad guys are facing a tough battle. Banks and money stuff are easy targets for computer attacks that can lead to big data leaks. These attacks are usually done to make money, steal secrets, or cause trouble for political reasons. These crimes are a big worry all over the world, as a new report from INTERPOL tells us.
When an attack happens, it can hurt a bank’s reputation, depending on how bad it is. According to a group called the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity, a lot of data gets stolen every month, and many organizations have to pay money to get their data back. Another report says that in 2022, there were more problems with hacking digital money than ever before.
As banking gets more digital and the risks go up, the big bosses need to make sure their business can keep running, follow the rules, and have good computer security to protect against all sorts of attacks.
Companies in the money business need to defend themselves against things like data leaks, ransom demands, nasty computer programs, fake emails, and tricky tricks that bad people are getting better at. It’s getting harder because the ways they attack are becoming more complicated. A 2023 report from a company called Moody’s says that the people who make rules and the companies that give out insurance are trying to reduce the money they might lose from computer attacks, but there will be more people who want insurance than there are companies offering it.
The Value of Cybersecurity for the Banking Sector
To stay strong and competitive in this ever-changing environment, banks and financial companies need to keep coming up with new ideas and make sure those ideas are safe. This is a tough job because there are more and more ways for bad people to attack, especially with digital banking, new financial technology companies, and the introduction of digital currencies. Here are some important things for cybersecurity in banking:
Visibility: It’s really important to see what’s happening on computer networks because more people are using mobile banking, connecting things like smart devices, and using cloud services. With more complicated online threats, you need to keep a close eye on everything happening on your network to stop data leaks and manage risks.
Automation and Efficiency: Old-fashioned security systems that work separately are becoming less useful. Modern cybersecurity needs systems that can do things automatically, reducing the need for people to do everything by hand. Using something called “policy as code” can help make this process even smoother, making sure security rules are always followed on a secure network.
Flexibility: Banks use different kinds of technology that can be in different places, like in the cloud or in their own offices. So, the security rules they use must be flexible and able to change along with the technology. The “policy as code” practice can help with this too, making sure the rules match the technology changes.
Compliance Reporting: Banks need to follow rules set by governments and other organizations to stay safe online. But it’s not just about checking boxes to say you’re following the rules. With the emphasis on cyber safety in these rules, banks need to both follow the rules and be ready to stop online threats. Using “policy as code” can help make sure you’re following the rules automatically.
And don’t forget about the people who work in banks. They need to know how to use new technology and systems. It’s not easy to find experts in these areas, and sometimes there’s a gap in understanding how these systems work.
That’s why Fortinet, a company that works in cybersecurity, is doing a big training program to teach one million people about cybersecurity by 2026. They’re making it easier for security professionals, students, women, and veterans to get this training. They’re also working with many academic partners and organizations to help more people learn about cybersecurity.
As the banking world keeps going digital, being good at cybersecurity means using a smart, well-informed, and flexible approach. It involves bringing together technology and security, teaching people new skills, and using automation. These are the keys to success in this digital journey. Staying safe online is a big part of it.
Cybersecurity Regulatory Impacts
Banks have two big challenges right now: making sure their computer systems are safe and following the changing rules. They need to keep their customers happy while also protecting everyone’s private information and the economy. But, following these new rules and using more digital technology costs a lot of money for both regular and business banks.
It’s really important to keep everything safe in banking because they deal with people’s personal information and make sure transactions go smoothly. But, a recent survey by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found some problems with how rules are being followed:
56% of banks and rule enforcers don’t have a clear plan to keep banks safe from cyber attacks.
42% don’t have special rules for computer security or tech risks, and a big 68% don’t have a team that’s only focused on risk in their department.
64% haven’t made sure that banks are testing their computer security.
54% don’t have a way for banks to report problems with their computer systems.
48% don’t have rules that specifically deal with computer crimes.
Even though these numbers might look bad, we should see rules and security not as problems but as ways to come up with new ideas and manage risks. For example, a company called McKinsey says that using data analysis in banking can save big banks up to $1 billion every year. This is because they can avoid fines, report their compliance more accurately, and manage their private information and other risks better.
As banking becomes more digital, finding the right balance between new ideas, computer security, and following the rules will be really important. Doing all three can bring amazing opportunities and make sure the financial world is safe, follows the rules, and looks ahead to the future.
For banks, managing risks from online threats is not just about using technical tools. It’s about looking at the whole organization and thinking about all the risks. But, many banks don’t have the right tools to figure out the risks, especially when they work with new digital partners and technologies.
New rules say that banks need to be really good at keeping things going and have a plan for risks that’s the same all around the world. They want to make sure everyone is doing the same thing, so there’s less confusion. They are also looking at companies that help banks and checking if they are safe. Banks are careful when picking who to work with, but there are also new startups that can help. However, banks need to be careful and do their homework to make sure they don’t bring new problems when they work with these startups.
As banking becomes more digital, they need to make sure they have a plan for risks that looks at the rules and how they work with others. This is really important for the future of banking.
Banking Cybersecurity Challenges
In the past, banks worked in separate sections with different goals and used different computer systems. This made things complicated and often made customers unhappy. Traditional banks, especially, had a reputation for making things difficult, especially when people wanted new services or help. To fix this, banks can use a single system that puts all the information together and connects different computer systems. This can help solve many problems caused by these separate sections. However, when information is kept in separate sections, it can also make it easier for bad people to steal data, break into computer systems, and not follow the rules. These are big problems in today’s banking world.
The computer systems and the huge amount of data they use are really important in the digital age of banking. Banks need to deal with old systems and add new technology to them. To solve these problems, banks should create special teams or groups of experts to come up with new ideas and make sure their services are still good. These teams should have clear responsibilities for their projects.
In the past, keeping computer systems safe in banking was simple. But today, banks use thousands or even hundreds of thousands of connected devices like computers and things that connect to the internet. When you add social media, the cloud, and mobile devices, the chances of data leaks and computer risks go up a lot. The big question is how banks can keep their computer systems safe when they are so complicated.
In our ongoing series on digital content theft, we arrive at a subject that has long been at the forefront of intellectual property debates: copyright infringement. In the digital age, the ease of copying and distributing content has made protecting copyrights more challenging and enforcement more critical. This article provides a comprehensive understanding of copyright infringement, its implications, and the evolving landscape of digital piracy.
Understanding Copyright Infringement
Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, or display of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner. Copyright protects original works of authorship, including text, music, images, software, and more. Types of copyright infringement include:
Unauthorized copying, downloading, or sharing of copyrighted digital content, such as movies, music, ebooks, and software.
Unauthorized use of someone else’s written or creative work without proper attribution or permission.
Unauthorized distribution or use of software, often through the illegal sharing of product keys or cracked versions.
How Copyright Infringement Works
The advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and torrent sites has made it easy for individuals to share copyrighted content, leading to widespread copyright infringement.
Unauthorized streaming platforms and websites offer access to copyrighted movies, TV shows, and music, bypassing legitimate distribution channels.
Individuals may reproduce copyrighted materials, like books or artwork, without permission and then distribute or sell these copies.
Remixes and Mashups:
While some digital creations fall under fair use, others may infringe on copyright when they use copyrighted material without permission.
Implications of Copyright Infringement
Copyright infringement can result in legal action, including fines and civil lawsuits. Repeat offenders may even face criminal charges.
Loss of Revenue:
Copyright infringement affects content creators and copyright owners by undermining their ability to profit from their work.
When content creators don’t receive compensation for their work due to infringement, they may have less incentive to produce high-quality content.
Copyright infringement raises ethical questions about respecting the creative and intellectual efforts of others.
The Evolving Landscape of Digital Piracy
Online Streaming Services:
Streaming services like Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime Video offer convenient, affordable access to a vast library of content, reducing the incentive for piracy.
Copyright owners and law enforcement agencies have taken steps to combat piracy, leading to the shutdown of many torrent sites and legal action against prolific infringers.
Rise of Legal Alternatives:
Legal platforms like YouTube, which offer revenue-sharing options to content creators, have provided a more sustainable model for digital content distribution.
Licensing and Partnerships:
Content creators and copyright owners have explored licensing and partnerships with digital platforms, expanding their reach while retaining control over their intellectual property.
Copyright infringement is a complex issue at the heart of digital content theft. As technology evolves, the line between what constitutes fair use and what constitutes infringement can be blurry. Understanding the implications of copyright infringement, both legally and ethically, is essential in an era where digital content is easily accessible and shareable. While challenges persist, the landscape of digital piracy is evolving, offering legitimate alternatives for both content creators and consumers. Respecting copyrights and supporting legal content distribution is not only a legal obligation but also a means to ensure the continued production of high-quality creative works in the digital age.
Industry Insights: New research shows that there is still plenty of headroom for OTT growth even in saturated markets, while we now have a better understanding of the composition of European OTT content libraries, and The DPP sets the industry mood music for the year.
Aggregation helps drive OTT subscriber numbers
While it is often tempting to think of OTT markets rapidly becoming saturated, study after study constantly finds headroom in even the most crowded marketplace.
As Rapid TV News reports, a new study from Parks Associates has found that 60% of Pay-TV subscribers, accounting for nearly half of US broadband households, are interested in streaming films and TV shows from an online video service as part of their Pay-TV subscription. What’s more, Pay-TV providers are responding to this demand, as the number of pay-TV consumers who receive online video services jumped nearly 50% in a year.
The average number of OTT services among households that have any OTT service was found to be 3.8, while the data shows households with Pay-TV services plus at least one OTT service subscribe to 4.2 OTT services on average.
“Parks suggested that pay-TV providers must keep offering their most valuable content, which includes live sporting and cultural events,” writes the website. “Additionally, it advised operators that they must offer access to streaming, target new services to their interested customers, and perhaps be willing to take a hit on pricing until this [current] chaotic market stabilizes.”
Meanwhile, and not unrelated, data presented by stocks analyst Trading Platforms shows that Netflix still has potential for growth in the US (and, by implication, elsewhere in the world).
The SVOD giant currently has 66m subscribers in the US, approximately one-third of its global total. Trading Platforms extrapolates that to 168.9m unique viewers per month and reckons that will grow to 182.2 by 2024, an 8% increase. Subs will grow in turn to 71% by 2025.
Amazon is currently the second-largest SVOD provider in the US and will remain so, increasing its subscriber numbers to 59.8m. Hulu’s growth is impressive too as the chart below shows, rising to 49.5 million.
But it is Disney that produces the most arresting figures, with Disney+ going from a standing start to 49.8 million subscribers by 2025. That is up 118% over its 2019 already impressive debut. By the end of 2020, 72.4 million people were already tuning in at least once a month.
And while we are talking about markets and subscribers, it is worth mentioning new research that shows insights into the behavior of SVOD subscribers through the lens of what sort of moviegoers they are.
“Cinema power users are subscribed to 50% more SVOD services than infrequent goers, rent twice as many new movie releases, purchase three times as many new releases, and are around three times as likely to pirate content from unauthorized sources,” writes Digital TV Europe.
That said, it’s worth noting the YoY change across the categories for piracy in particular. It is down for the power users but up 28% YoY to just under 24% of all cinema goers, a much larger number of users, and an indication that the problem of content piracy in lockdown has not gone away.
Mapping the European OTT industry’s content libraries
The European Audiovisual Observatory has just launched its latest round of figures and, for the first time, is including television content — both series and TV films — in its LUMIERE VOD database.
As its headline for its announcement of this says, it has uncovered the fact that 44,000 European films and over 12,650 European TV seasons are currently available on a total of 462 VOD services in Europe (138 TVOD and 324 SVOD catalogs). This is a lot of locally produced content, especially given the perception of US dominance in the OTT market. But it arguably gets even more interesting when you dig down into some of the details.
Here are our key takeaways from the figures.
The UK still dominates European TV
The European market has four main content producers, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. However, the presence of UK-produced content is highly disproportionate to its size. The United Kingdom leads the pack with 44% of all content, followed by Germany (17%), France (9%), and Spain (6%). Together these four provide three-quarters of all available European TV titles on VOD.
A surprising lack of TV co-pros
While the film market featured 30% co-productions with other countries, only 12% of all European content was produced this way. The main secondary co-production countries are the United States and Canada.
Children’s content dominates
9 out of 20 of the Top 20 European TV titles present in catalogs were children’s animated series. Peppa Pig dominates, found in 69 separate catalogs in 20 countries, with the rather more adult-themed live-action Irish/Canadian co-pro of Vikings not far behind. The cultural phenomenon that is Lego enabled Denmark to snag four positions in the Top 20 with its Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu.
Age is no barrier
The average year of production for the Top 20 library content was 2011, though catalogs tended to trend much older than that and the average year of production of all TV seasons found on VOD in Europe was 1987. However, it’s worth noting that 60% of TV content was less than 10 years old, and it is largely outliers such as David Attenborough’s landmark BBC Zoo Quest series (1954) dragging the average down.
Assessing the mood of the industry
Some interesting insights into the year ahead come from the industry body, The DPP. Each year it considers five overarching themes, which it dubs the mood music of the year, that it thinks will inform media businesses in the year ahead.
In previous years when it has done this, you can detect a slow and steady evolution from one year to the next. Unsurprisingly, 2021 is a bit different, and the mood music selected for this year is in places wholly new.
The articulation of business values, and the need to act upon them, is becoming increasingly necessary to attract, maintain and motivate employees on the one hand, and to stay relevant to customers on the other. Sustainability was the value that first broke through at the board level, but this is being joined by diversity and inclusion, wellbeing, trust, and social responsibility.
Understanding the way the pandemic has reshaped the industry needs careful analysis, and companies are increasingly looking at data to provide far more nuanced views of business matters than before and inform the changes they need two make in the future.
“Innovation is no longer a choice,” says The DPP, arguing that companies have to innovate if they are to maximize the opportunities that exist in the current slowly post-Covid market.
The DPP’s thoughts on this are worth quoting directly to pick out the subtleties over previous years.
“Over the years, we have seen the mood music theme of speed give way to one about agility. This refinement noted that going faster wasn’t always the appropriate response; sometimes the need is more to be highly responsive.
“That notion has been refined again this year. Many wanted to capture the widespread need for flexibility which has come with both difficult economic circumstances and the need to innovate. The notion applies both internally and externally.
The ability to simply maintain business operations despite everything else currently going on.
The organization has also made some more straightforward predictions too, including the increased use of AI and automation and the growing importance of cybersecurity, and we’ll probably have a look at them in detail next time.
The rise of Targeted Advertising (TA) in 2023, with solutions like Sigma’s Targeted TV Advertising, offers a ray of hope amid the challenges faced by broadcasters and operators. While the industry witnessed record-high viewership during lockdowns, the revenue from advertising, a crucial part of the sector, took a hit.
Nevertheless, there’s a sense of optimism in the industry. TA solutions, which deliver ads tailored to consumers’ individual interests, even down to the household or individual level, are gaining mainstream acceptance. While TA’s share of the overall ad spending remains relatively small, its growth trajectory continues upward, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, eMarketer predicts that Connected TV (CTV) ad spending in the US will surge from $8.11 billion in the previous year to $18.29 billion by 2024.
2023 Vision — Targeted Ads come of age
While the United States is undeniably a significant hub for the growth of Targeted Advertising (TA), recent months have witnessed a surge in TA activity on a global scale, encompassing Europe, APAC, Latin America, and various other regions.
In the final months of 2023, Europe alone witnessed a flurry of developments: UK commercial broadcaster ITV unveiled its Planet V platform, FranceTV Publicité and Orange launched pioneering linear campaigns in France using TA, Molotov, a French OTT live and catch-up TV platform, introduced the new AVOD service Mango, and Movistar rolled out a TA service on channel #0 in Spain, with plans for expansion in 2021. Notably, similar initiatives were initiated by Mediaset in Italy, Proximus in Belgium, RTL in Germany, and a host of other projects globally.
Broadcasters across the world are either introducing standalone solutions or forging strategic alliances, such as the collaboration between rival Pay-TV companies Sky and Virgin in the UK. Simultaneously, ad tech companies are experiencing a comparable surge in activity. Samsung, for instance, made its Connected TV (CTV) inventory programmatically available through SpotX ahead of schedule in response to increased viewership during the Covid pandemic. LG, on the other hand, invested $80 million to acquire a controlling stake in TV ad data firm Alphonso, with the objective of establishing a first-screen, cross-device advertising platform complete with integrated analytics.
As previously mentioned, the interest in Ad-Supported Video on Demand (AVOD) has seen a substantial upswing as audiences seek fresh content without incurring premium costs. Projections from Digital TV Research indicate that the AVOD market is set to grow by 120% from 2019 to 2025, jumping from $24.3 billion to $53.5 billion, and contributing 32% of total OTT revenues.
With an ever-increasing number of viewers turning to Connected TVs (CTV), exceeding 50% in select countries, and a surging demand for AVOD-driven content, the structural dynamics of the broadcast industry are shifting towards streaming as the dominant mode of consumption. Consequently, advertisers are increasingly keen on replicating the successes they’ve achieved on digital platforms within the realm of television.
SpotX, a prominent player in the evolving ad tech industry, highlights in its Global Video Advertising Trends 2021 survey that ad spend is aligning with evolving consumer behavior, and it’s gravitating toward OTT and CTV at a pace faster than previously anticipated.
The challenge of complexity
One of the limitations that operators face when looking to enter the market, however, is complexity. A research study in 2019 discovered that marketers have an average of 28 different technologies in their ad tech stack, with 70% believing that number would grow over the following three years due to the complexity of the advertising ecosystem. It would be hard to argue they are wrong.
Even narrowing the discussion down to the television space, there are a large number of competing technologies, standards, and solutions that operators can choose from. In most territories, there isn’t a clear market leader and the choices become complex.
An illustration of the difficulties here is offered by the efforts at industry standardization with at least one high profile project moving into a key phase. The DVB and HbbTV have been working together to build the forthcoming DVB-TA specification, and indeed we have been a part of these efforts at VO (you can see our recent presentation at the DVB Demos day in November last year here).
Currently, work on the DVB-TA specifications ecosystem continues within the DVB Project. This includes the implementation of SoME (Signalling on Media Essence), where audio and video watermarking are used to signal targeted advertising replacement opportunities present in supported legacy STBs via a broadband connection.
The operator opportunity in the ATV market
If that complexity can be addressed, and it can, targeted advertising provides multiple new revenue opportunities. The headline is of course the possibility of ad replacement in linear primetime, which allows operators to increase the number of ad slots without increasing ad load; charge premium rates for them; and decrease churn as viewers have been shown to respond more favorably to targeted ads.
But there are other significant opportunities as well, especially when you consider that, with their first-party data, operators have everything they need to start making money now.
Additional opportunities include:
Leverage the UI – Operators can increase inventory still further by serving ads within the UI of their apps. This can be further explored when the user is actively interacting with the UI, such as when browsing content.
Self-promotion – With many companies in the OTT sector offering triple-play services and more, TA provides a valuable route to increasing the efficiency of their own promotions, both for additional services and for specific content
Freemium to premium- Operators can offer free (or almost free) content access, backing it up with significant ad revenues, to increase their market penetration and OTT migration, and create leads that will become premium customers in the future
It’s also worth pointing out that there are solutions on the market, such as ours, that do not require the latest equipment to be installed in viewer’s homes to make this happen. 50% or more of viewers worldwide are watching television on legacy devices that do not necessarily support OTT services, and this is an audience that needs to be reached for maximum benefit.
Targeted advertising works both with and without inventory. Operators with existing inventory can offer creative monetization options enabling them to optimize between their different monetization channels and on top of that use AI-based insights to increase the efficiency and scope of their segmentation. This boosts reach and revenues as a result. For operators without inventory, an off-the-shelf smart infrastructure enables them to connect with various TV channels and support multi-ad servers. This allows them to leverage their existing first-party usage data to offer attractive segmentation to advertisers, while also supporting and measuring ad-insertion.
And with Sigma SSAI, in particular, providing a rich opportunity for the launch of new services to capture audiences hungry for increasing amounts of content, it seems there is no better time to adopt a technology that satisfies both advertisers and audiences alike.
Five critical things that TV operators should think about when it comes to choosing a solution for DRM protection.
With content budgets rising all the time, whether for original productions or rights purchases, operators are understandably paying increasing attention to the protection of that investment. It is a challenging part of any business strategy as piracy organisations are constantly evolving and finding new ways to intercept and illegally re-stream video. Digital rights management (DRM) is thus a critical part of any overall OTT business plan, whether a new launch or an established service, but there are many different things to consider when it comes to choosing the right DRM protection for your business needs.
Here then is our quick checklist of items and issues that will guide you when it comes to choosing your own DRM solutions.
5 key considerations for DRM protection
1. Recognise the value of your content
There is a direct link to the value of your content and the value that pirates can charge for accessing illegal copies of it. This means that the more you pay for your rights, the more you need to pay attention to how to protect them. Your content will be targeted; it’s a question of when and not if.
Sports rights are historically some of the most expensive in the industry and sports has been one of the main areas to be targeted in recent years, as piracy has moved to a live streaming model. Content protection here is an absolute prerequisite and is increasingly demanded by rights holders as part of any deal. Rights holders are all too aware that any leak anywhere in the world can have repercussions on their business wherever it may be situated. The prevailing mood is that they cannot be too careful.
2. Multiple devices = multi DRM
The days of watching television on a single big screen TV set in the living room are long gone. Today’s viewers watch digital content on a multiplicity of screens, from phones that they can put in their pocket to giant LCD screens that dwarf anything seen in the days of the cathode ray tube. And they expect that content to be there when they want it to be. The difficulty is that each platform has its own application language, methodology, and native DRM security, meaning that whatever you offer, viewing needs to be secured across all of them.
A multi-DRM approach is the only way that this can be done. It supports as wide a range of devices and formats as possible, as well as offering integration with third party DRM solutions such as Widevine or Microsoft PlayReady. Viewers don’t care about rights management issues; they simply expect their content to be available at anytime, anywhere, and that their viewing experience will be seamless.
3. Network considerations
Different DRM solutions generate DRM protected files in different ways, and the ideal DRM encryption solution you choose will depend on whether you leverage unicast, multicast or broadcast networks – managed or not. It’s a situation with plenty of flexibility and fairly constant evolution and iteration, and may evolve as your content delivery network advances and you reassess the ecosystem of your protected files.
It is worth pointing you that that leveraging adaptive streaming protocols such as MPEG-DASH, Microsoft Smooth Streaming and HLS is vital to maintain optimal video quality under a range of network conditions and on any device type.
4. Looking at the big picture
Any DRM solution you choose, not to mention the way you implement it, are a part of the overall content licensing agreements you sign, as rights owners become more concerned about the downstream management of digital rights.
That means it is not just the DRM you are selecting, but also the method of implementation that matters, as well as the level of security around the integration, and how security management will be handled over time: it is a complete package. Rights holders want to know that there are mitigations in place to prevent DRM protection removal, especially as DRM removal software has become more widespread
Integration need not be a lengthy process, however. VO’s own multi-DRM solution can be integrated into an operator’s ecosystem within a few weeks.
5. Hitting a moving target
Piracy is changing and evolving all the time. The amount of money – often illegal revenues of crime syndicates – being spent on establishing illegal operations is significant. This means that anti-piracy measures, including offering protected DRM content, have to constantly evolve too, to keep up as well. Technologies such as DRM Dynamic Watermarking thus become important over time, as workarounds for existing security methods become widespread amongst the pirate services, and the industry has to cope with increased DRM removal.
In the end, an effective DRM Solution is all about the management and limitation of risk. A solution looking to provide DRM TV needs to fulfil a range of criteria:
Deploy a set of technologies that fit your business models, that work both now and in the future
Provide rights owners with reassurance.
Integrate tightly and securely in all devices that are being used for your service. This covers both their hardware and software environments.
Piggyback on the security capabilities of the devices, and provide hardware anchorage wherever possible. This can be achieved through features such as STB secure chipsets, Trusted Execution Environments for smartphones, and more.
Take a holistic approach that does not rely on DRM alone. Additional services such as anti-piracy tracking and watermarking should also be considered too, as an essential part of your overall content protection.
Consumers are now used to dealing with DRM digital rights, with music services such as iTunes and Apple Music leading the way when it comes to audio and acting as powerful gatekeepers to protected songs and other media. However, the same situation is not yet the case when it comes to video and from the growth in Kodi Boxes to the almost total replacement of bittorrent with live streaming piracy services, video content and copyrighted works have never been under so much threat. However, there are definitely actions you can take to stay in control and make sure that digital content is protected, and that list starts with a robust security agent powered by DRM.