How to avoid piracy of OTT content and stop excessive credential sharing

The OTT industry is in the midst of explosive expansion, especially due to governments not allowing crowding at theaters. The expansion has attracted traditional broadcasters to the OTT space. At the same time, many new media players have emerged that deal exclusively in the OTT space.

In the face of stiff competition, OTT players want new ways to woo subscribers across geographies. Established leaders in the industry promote credential sharing to allow a circle of friends or family members to access premium video content at the cost of a single user. They hope to convert more people into OTT consumers through this process.

However, managing users and limiting the usage to a fair plan become a concern for OTT companies. Their primary defense against credential abuse is to stream DRM protected content. Digital rights management (DRM) technology is a robust mechanism to manage users, sessions, devices, and licensing keys.

However, content owners face the problem of managing users across devices. Device fragmentation is only increasing by the day, with smartphones of all sizes, smart TVs, smart set-top boxes, and in-vehicle entertainment all getting connected through always-on internet. The security industry has responded to this challenge by promoting multi-DRM implementation that makes each piece of premium content OS agnostic. With the help of multi-DRM SaaS vendors, content owners are able to closely gather non-intrusive data about users and client devices. It lets them spot unwanted credential sharing or at least spot patterns about the number of users and devices used per account, which further helps them devise more effective subscription plans.

However, despite the effective use of the DRM tech, hackers are able to breach security infrastructure of OTT distribution chain. To minimize damage in such scenarios, content owners rely on video watermarking technology. Multi-DRM SaaS vendors also embed forensic watermarks in each frame of the video they encode. A forensic watermark carries imperceptible information about copyright, user ID, session ID, date, device hardware and software information, etc. Content owners can extract these watermarks from the pirated content and reach the user who leaked the content.

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