According to Andrew Wajs, CTO at multiscreen, revenue assurance and media protection solutions specialist Irdeto, tackling next-generation content distribution, protection and monetisation challenges requires more than just technology, with operators needing to take a more holistic, end-to-end approach to thrive.
Speaking to the Cable Congress Blog in advance of the event March 11th – 13th in Brussels, Wajs notes that advancements in technology combined with increasing broadband availability and speed have allowed pirates to adapt, making content redistribution the biggest threat currently facing pay-TV operators and rights holders.
“As little as 2 to 3mbps is sufficient to access hundreds of pirated pay-TV channels and movies from almost everywhere in the world, in HD or near HD quality. Beyond broadband capability, pirate OTT devices on the market today can provide functionality and a user experience that can challenge even the best pay-TV offerings,” he advises.
Wajs notes that many pirate OTT services also have professional websites with effective marketing and offer a ‘plug and play’ philosophy with support. Some even tout money-back guarantees. As a result, many people who consume pirated content do so unintentionally due to these legitimate-looking subscriptions and offers.
“This new sophistication of piracy requires increasingly powerful countermeasures. Pay-TV operators and content owners, especially sports rights holders that are dealing with a short monetisation window, must rely on a wide range of technologies, automated mechanisms and global collaboration networks to disrupt piracy,” he suggests.
Countermeasures recommended by Wajs include discovering how pirates market to consumers (linking sites, social media and piracy ads); tracking and disabling illegal streams in real time; tracing back to the origin of the pirate stream with advanced forensic techniques and catching the real criminals behind piracy through investigation and evidence collection for prosecution.
According to Wajs, the industry is witnessing an “unparalleled” change in how media is consumed as a result of the increasing nature of IP connected devices – and those changes continue to accelerate with the availability of broadband and expanded distribution of new devices worldwide.
“As a result, home networking, the Internet of Things and other new advancements such as 4K are driving innovation and presenting a myriad of opportunities and challenges. For example, 4K promises enhanced quality, navigation and varied business models. 4K will be synonymous with responsiveness, openness and flexibility in both technology and consumer engagements, but it won’t come without risks and new mandates from rights holders and Hollywood studios. Those operators who can think outside ‘the box’ will be able to manage these risks, adhere to new requirements and find opportunities to drive their business forward,” he says.