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Protect to prosper

by Adrian Pennington on Jun 19, 2017

The innovation he speaks of is a combination of offering affordable content with a comprehensive anti-piracy strategy.

However, there’s no guarantee even the first part of this will work. According to Ampere Analysis, most viewing of illegal streams is among people with low income (and therefore can’t afford to view) and/or who live with others (so that their control of the TV is limited).

“These are demographic issues rather than a fundamental business threat,” says Ampere Research director Richard Broughton. “Making multiplatform streams available is important for operators so that they can reach consumers on different devices.”

In addition, millennials may be more likely than older generations to use online-only services such as Sky’s Now TV but figures are still small, with only 5 per cent taking up the option (according to SIG’s survey). Meanwhile, only 2 per cent of respondents between 18-24 said they sourced their sports entertainment through clips on social media.

The study’s findings follow a crackdown on piracy by the English Premier League with the League determined to preserve its lucrative broadcast rights.

The EPL was granted a court order to stop matches being streamed for free on Kodi boxes. While Kodi itself is a neutral platform, its open-source nature means add-ons can be developed by third parties that make paid content illegally accessible.

This decision meant that the UK’s Internet Service Providers are obliged to shut down the source of illegal streams.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact) declared that the use of Kodi software to watch pirated streams was becoming an “epidemic” last September.

No silver bullet

According to Irdeto, Kodi boxes are particularly prevalent in the UK. It reported that 11 per cent of UK viewers who admitted to watching pirated streams said they did so via a Kodi box.

There is no silver bullet to resolve the problem. A first step is to secure the stream with encryption (and/or conditional access systems (CAS) in set-top boxes) and add digital rights management (DRM) to authenticate usage.

Video management platform Kaltura, for example, encrypts content as part of the ingest process or on the fly. Then it adds a Universal DRM which is integrated with Google Widevine, PlayReady and Apple Fairplay for content protection which Kaltura says will work regardless of the browser, device or platform being used.

“DRM makes sure that those watching content have relevant access rights,” says Arik Gaisler, Sr. director of product, infrastructure. “This is the approach taken by most pay TV broadcasters. “To overcome DRM it would need to be hacked in a deeper, sophisticated way.”

DRM and CAS do a good job of ensuring that only legitimate viewers can access content through paid services. But once the video is displayed, it is still vulnerable to re-streaming through numerous methods, including camcorder capture and screen-scraping in which data is copied in realtime and re-broadcast as a live stream.

“Traditional access control works up to the point where the customer starts watching the content,” argues Alistair Cameron, European sales director of content protection firm NexGuard. “From that point, all bets are off. Most pirates will pay for a subscription or will buy the pay per view.”

Illegal uploaders can turn a profitable business by selling ads around the site or in some cases selling a subscription service.

A report by the UK’s Digital Citizens Alliance estimated that in 2013, piracy websites generated $227million from advertising.


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