The Kudelski Group has acquired 100% of NexGuard Labs BV (formerly Civolution BV), a leader in digital content watermarking solutions. This move expands the Kudelski Group’s portfolio of end-to-end content protection security solutions, enriching the existing offer to content owners and Pay TV operators. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
NexGuard Labs BV, based in the Netherlands with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, Dubai and Rennes (France), is a leading provider of forensic watermarking technology and solutions for protecting media content against illicit redistribution. It offers an extensive portfolio of industry-leading digital watermarking tools to help media content owners, rights holders and distributors protect and manage their assets.
André Kudelski, Chairman and CEO at Kudelski Group says: “The acquisition of NexGuard further strengthens our content protection offering and represents a key milestone in executing our growth strategy in security.”
Watermarking is a key component of the content protection chain, helping to prevent illegal sharing, ensure full traceability and provide guarantees to end-users in terms of quality. The use of this technology has become a major requirement from content owners, especially regarding 4K, High Dynamic Range or live sports events distribution. It also helps Pay TV operators ensure that content is not distributed illegally.
The watermarking technology developed by NexGuard does not impair the viewing experience and is robust against severe degradation of the content. It will reinforce the Kudelski Group’s existing watermarking technology, anyMARK, and will be available on all Kudelski Group digital television products.
Forensic watermarking is a key part of the MovieLabs Enhanced Content Protection requirements and will be required by most Hollywood studios for the licensing of 4K and HD HDR content, NAGRA points out. The company also believes this technology is the best approach, long-term, to fighting the threat of content sharing via the Internet, using the fact that you can insert an imperceptible watermark in the video or audio to enable the rights owner to pursue the leak directly and turn it off at the source.
In an opinion piece that you can read in full here, Christopher Schouten, Senior Product Marketing Director at NAGRA, says: “Technologies like NexGuard’s watermarking solutions represent a leap forward in the fight against piracy as they are resistant to any attempts to tamper with them. Using a watermark enables companies like NAGRA to scan the Internet and pirate streaming services for illegally redistributed content. When such content is identified, it empowers the rights owner to take steps to stop the illegal flow of content, helping to keep the value of content in the legitimate value chain.
“When integrated with CA and DRM systems, watermarking and the associated detection services will ultimately form a closed-loop solution, protecting content for delivery to any device. Ultimately, illegally-distributed content can then be automatically detected and shut down at the source, offering 360-degree content protection and a fast and effective response to content theft.”
Schouten adds: “Through the tight integration of these important technologies and services, the Kudelski Group continues to play a leading role in the holistic protection of the premium video value chain.”
Christopher Schouten, Senior Product Marketing Director at NAGRA, explains the rationale behind the commitment to watermarking and the acquisition of NexGuard, and why it helps the company deliver 360-degree Pay TV content protection, here.