Whilst consumer demand for VOD services had been steadily increasing in recent years, 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 has resulted in a significant shift in viewing habits worldwide. Demand for online on-demand video content is at an all-time high, with audiences able to take their pick from an increasingly saturated market of content providers, all looking to provide unique value.
Following the news that Warner Bros will be releasing all its 2021 films directly to its streaming service HBO Max, it’s clear that the pandemic has only accelerated the shift of big blockbusters to the small screen. It is now more crucial than ever for content providers such as streaming services to protect their users’ access to such assets and maintain a profitable business model. By monetising existing content, the basis can be built for more valuable content to be created in the future. Along with on demand video, live events and businesses in sectors such as education are realising the need to protect revenue streams. So how can content owners best protect their valuable video assets?
Effectively monetising content means considering digital rights management (DRM) from the outset of content creation. DRM tools, such as VUALTO’s VUDRM solution, provide a systematic approach to copyright protection of digital media, restricting how consumers can view, copy and redistribute purchased content. But implementing this technology isn’t as simple as flicking a switch to turn it on. There are numerous factors that content distributors need to account for when successfully protecting their content.
There are a variety of devices and software types available to consumers that they may utilise to consume content. Encryption standards can vary by country, while compatibility with different browsers can be impacted by regular updates. While encryption standards such as CENC have helped to create aligned rules, there are slight differentiations between the way Apple, Microsoft and Google run their DRM technologies. VUDRM is compatible with all three technologies, and our expertise and understanding of the market can help providers navigate these small but significant differences.
A CHALLENGING LANDSCAPE
The challenge of varying devices and servers is not the only obstacle facing efficient DRM implementation, with subscription services flexible by nature in their offerings, and huge spikes in demand for new content launches. For content owners, this means that a rigid one-size-fits-all approach to DRM is not feasible and could prove damaging in such a competitive landscape.
VUDRM’s token generation provides true flexibility and scalability, enabling organisations to grant specific rights to specific users for a particular piece of content. As an example, for video on demand, if a user consumes content via pay-per-view method, but soon after changes to a subscription model to view that same piece of content, the new rights that now apply to that user can be instantaneously delivered to them. This enables content providers to lure consumers in with competitive entry-level offers, and then seamlessly switch their access when needed.
A token system also plays a key role in restricting content in instances where geographical requirements may need to be considered, such as when considering sporting rights or dedicated launches in specific markets. VUDRM tokens can help inform licence servers to implement the appropriate geo-location standards for each user, and apply rules based on whether the rights allow viewers in a certain location to access content.
Content providers also need to ensure that they are prepared to cater for peak times in demand such as popular live events. VUALTO’s multi-region clusters provide the scalability, redundancy and flexibility that allows content providers to deal with these huge increases in demand, even if they have limited resources in their own workflows. This also allows content providers to pre-scale in advance of a popular event.
VUDRM can be fully hosted in the cloud, which enables content providers to benefit from our expertise and management, which is lost if this is hosted on-premise, plus greater access to scalability and reduced costs from efficient use of licences. Along with the inclusion of geo-location services through VUDRM, providers can also utilise a cloud-based service to check the IP address of a user to determine their location. Flexibility sits with the content provider in how they would like to implement this.
Digital rights management is a complicated business, but VUDRM is on hand to remove the hassle, freeing up content providers to focus on what they do best. In the future, the industry is likely to become more aligned as demand and understanding of DRM increases hand-in-hand with the growth of content available. With video now accounting for a staggering 60% of downstream traffic on the internet, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that it can be a force for good in keeping people connected, entertained and educated at home. In this new digital world, brands must consider their monetisation options for sustainable future success – and this means secure and efficient gatekeeping of valuable content.