When forensic watermarking converges with multi-DRM tech, contain piracy loses in OTT space

Content security has become a key concern of Hollywood studios and sports broadcasters as OTT content consumption and the number of OTT platforms has increased over the years. When only pay TV could distribute premium videos in the past, it was much simpler for content creators to certify devices and stem piracy. But, with the spread of the internet, consumers want the freedom of viewing across devices and platforms as the internet and television merge like never before.

As a result, multi-DRM solutions, mostly operating as SaaS and are essentially digital licensing systems that govern user access to premium material, are being relied upon by the OTT industry. These solutions assist content providers in complying with numerous DRM encoding standards, allowing them to address fragmentation across multiple devices and browsers and reach a larger audience across geographies with their DRM protected content.

To provide DRM protection across numerous devices, be they Android of iPhones, multi-DRM systems use the MPEG-CENC standard, which has become the industry default now. It allows for the use of a single encryption key for content encoding and encryption, making it compatible with the majority of DRM systems. To complete the client query, the meta information of numerous DRMs is subsequently added during the packaging stage. Device or browser-specific DRMs can then handle license mapping and acquisitions in DRM protected content, with the media player choosing which DRM to apply during the playback request.

However, the DRM system has a pronounced limitation. It can safeguard content against piracy as it moves from the source to the intended audience in the distribution. This is where video watermarking enters the picture. This technology is defined as the process of embedding unique marks (code) in each frame of the content stream that may be used to identify the content owner as well as trace down the end-user, if necessary. While the DRM system ensures that legitimate customers receive the premium content they paid for according to their subscription plans with adequate rights and permissions they paid for, watermarking enables the content creator/distributor to identify users in the event of content piracy and take appropriate measures to prevent it further.

Earlier, there was no one-size-fit-all solution to deliver both DRM and watermarking. Content owners and distribution platforms needed to use a combination of four to five different technologies to prevent piracy. But with the emergence of multi-DRM SaaS industry, this problem has been resolved.