Without compelling content, your over-the-top (OTT) streaming service is nothing. But building and maintaining a technology platform to secure your content distribution can be a big drain on resources.
Content security platforms are becoming increasingly complex, and the only truly manageable approach for delivering protected content across the fragmented device ecosystem is arguably through a cloud-based multi-DRM service. Otherwise, distributors must maintain separate silos for processing each asset for distribution for each secure content channel. A single platform that effectively covers each DRM type and offers robust, cloud-based multi-DRM protection on every device requires a significant investment in technology and infrastructure.
Unrelenting increase in technical complexity
The level of technical complexity to build and maintain a content protection infrastructure is greater than ever. To name just some of the key requirements, a robust and effective cloud-based multi-DRM service must:
- Address the growing client device and operating system (OS) fragmentation
- Enforce usage, regional blackouts, and other content policies at every point of access
- Ensure consistency in user experiences across all devices with delay-free acquisition of keys from DRM servers run by multiple licensing authorities
- Ensure that keys be refreshed (or “rotated”) multiple times during a viewing session (in the case of linear TV content delivered over OTT connections)
- Rigorously secured provisioning and security upgrade processes in accordance with established industry practices
- Monitor and adhere to complex licensing and protection agreements, such as those associated with time shifting, catch-up viewing, cloud-based DVR usage, and download and device storage options
- Integrate with CDN infrastructure to support capabilities such as just-in-time edge processing (and partner with CDN operators to maintaining a competitive advantage)
- Comply with a long list of Enhanced Content Protection (ECP) parameters as defined by MovieLabs and others, especially for premium and 4K/UHD content
By creating and maintaining a multi-DRM platform in-house, you’ll incur significant capital expenditures owing to the complex technology and infrastructure required to support a global OTT streaming service. If you contract directly with a cloud provider, you’ll absorb the full cost of dedicated capacity; or if you invest in private cloud infrastructure or on-prem systems, there will be significant CAPEX/OPEX consequences. However, subscribing to a multi-DRM service gives you the power of cloud-providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offers a global footprint with regional geo-redundancies and fault tolerance, minimizing service delivery latency.
Additionally, in order to address the growing device and OS fragmentation, you will need to develop and maintain client device security libraries for iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, or resort to using native DRM clients. When you buy, this issue will be managed by your multi-DRM service provider through a cross-platform client SDK, or by using native DRM clients.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. Building a content security system requires continuous effort and investment in technology to stay ahead of constantly evolving piracy threats and security technologies. Alternatively, if you work with a cloud-based multi-DRM service provider, this process is effortless, as it is part of the multi-DRM provider’s core activities. Moreover, it becomes future-proof since a cloud service will include new releases at regular intervals, incorporating the latest security features activated automatically as part of the DRM-as-a-service model.
Keep your focus. Work with the multi-DRM pros
While it is obvious that building a content security system is not a simple, one-off project there are many factors to consider beyond what this blog outlined. For a more in-depth look, download our comprehensive white paper, detailing the technology and infrastructure challenges of building a multi-DRM platform: Weighing Buy Versus Build Options for Securing Advanced OTT Video Services
About Ali Hodjat
Ali Hodjat is the VP Marketing for Intertrust ExpressPlay. He has extensive experience in leading product management and product marketing activities in the fields of content protection and pay-TV security, anti-piracy, and IoT security solutions.