The media industry has been undergoing unprecedented change. Much of this evolution has been driven by technology innovation, giants (such as Apple, Amazon and Netflix) entering this space, and ecosystem fragmentation. Internet-based video is increasing sharply, fueled by these changes, and it’s forecasted to achieve 55% year over year growth from 2015 to 2021 (source: Ericsson 2016). While no one can predict exactly what further changes lie ahead, we can be sure three trends will continue for the long-term:
- Consumers want OTT services on all of their own devices
- Consumers will continually expect more value for their money – more content and more convenience, at an attractive price
- Consumers want customized experiences. Building flexibility into the business models will maximize value for both operators and their customers
If your business today is based on broadcast, making the transition to OTT can be difficult and expensive. One of the trickiest parts to get right is how to secure and deliver content to both managed and unmanaged devices without multiplying your efforts and cost. To make the transition even harder, Hollywood studios and sports rights holders have also raised security requirements for premium content, such as 4K UHD. Defining a solid hybrid strategy that meets both security requirements and your business needs is critical to make the transition as painless and risk-free as possible.
Mastering security requirements to ensure growth
A successful hybrid strategy must meet the following three objectives:
- Support for the widest range of unmanaged devices to reach consumers
In most countries, this means operators must support multiple DRMs to cover the popular web browsers and consumer devices. This creates tremendous operational and expertise challenges, especially when different packaging and encryption technologies are required for the devices.
- Access to premium content to offer the most desired content in each market
To get premium content such as 4K UHD sports and early-release box office movies, operators must be able to meet the increasingly stringent security requirements. MovieLabs’ Enhanced Content Protection (ECP) specification sets the new bar for what operators must do to get premium content. It ranges from ensuring renewability in CA and DRM, to locking down consumer devices, to end-to-end breach response and watermarking. Meeting these requirements can take a long time and cost a lot of money if operators don’t have experienced security partners on their side. So being proactive and strategic with security decisions can give operators a head start to offer the best content at an attractive price.
- Flexible policy management across broadcast and OTT services
OTT services are still evolving. Market leaders such as Amazon and Netflix are constantly changing their policies and pricing options to explore the optimal business models in each market. Operators need to ensure their hybrid offer is equally flexible and consistent on both broadcast and OTT devices to compete. To enable this capability, operators must look for an integrated head-end system that allows them easily set subscriber entitlement rules, without worrying about what device, CA or DRM is in use.
Premium security can reduce your TCO
In today’s competitive environment, it’s not wise for the business to treat security as a tick in the box exercise. Mastering the requirements and leveraging security to differentiate your offering is going to be the safest bet to grow your business.
Premium security today means 360-degree protection trusted by content owners, from protecting broadcast and OTT services, to end-to-end piracy control and watermarking. Premium security can also come in the form of software, when the software is protected by innovative technologies such as whitebox cryptography. Having the best security without having hardware and the logistics burden associated with managing hardware gives operators significant cost savings.
With consumers’ increasing expectations around OTT, it is crucial for operators to be able to reach consumers on any device, while securely delivering premium content and a great user experience. A software-based security solution will allow operators to do this, while providing an easily renewable solution to stay ahead of piracy without hardware dependencies. While security must be robust it should also act as an enabler on which operators can grow their OTT offering and, subsequently, their business.