Not long ago, content protection technology firm MediaSilo surveyed roughly 100 media and entertainment companies, asking, in broad strokes, about the pain points they’re feeling when it comes to protecting their content.
And the results were a little scary: Nine of 10 respondents said they had a low level of satisfaction with non-watermarking content protection technologies, either because they’re too expensive, or users report issues with the technology.
“There’s definitely something the industry is not doing right when you have nine out of 10 respondents saying the same thing,” said Kai Pradel, founder and CEO of MediaSilo, during the Dec. 6 “If You Like It, Then You Shoulda Put a Watermark on It: Watermarking as a Service is Cheaper and Easier Than You Think” presentation at the Content Protection Summit in Los Angeles. “To me that says we’re not doing a good enough job hardening up post-production environments, and sometimes it’s difficult.”
The case for visible watermarking is better than ever today, so much so that Pradel believes “we’re in the midst of a watermarking revolution.” Using watermarking technology help to improve margins and platform reach, with media and entertainment companies listing why they need it: The rise of theft, the need for multi-device protection, the pressure to lower the cost of ownership and improve operation margins, and the need for seamless integration, all are coming into play.
Pre-launch IP content theft is where the biggest portion of leakage occurs, and is only rising, but along with protecting screener content using visible watermarks, the ability for awards and review viewers to watch content without interruption also comes into play.
“There’s a clear business case for watermarking,” Pradel said. “If we’re building tools that are in the way of users and collaborators, they‘ll find ways around it. [But] if it’s valuable content, it needs to be protected, and the attributes of watermarking make it really valuable.”
Forensic watermarking does have its advantages, porting over regardless of formats, but it still lacks the deterrent factor associated with a visible watermark, according to Alex Nauda, CTO for MediaSilo. “The malicious friend of the admin of the person who’s authorized to view the content has accessed it, leaked it, and the damage is already done,” he added. “Anything you can put a mark on, based on the usage of the content, is what we recommend.”
Nicholas Stokes, CTO with XPlatform Consulting, added toward the end of the presentation that the introduction of watermarking services like MediaSilo’s have helped some of its clients reduce costs and better protect their assets. “Anyone who’s a developer who’s trying to develop an alternative to [watermarking] you’re facing an uphill road,” he said.
The Content Protection Summit was produced by MESA and CDSA, presented by MediaSilo, and sponsored by Independent Security Evaluators, Aspera, the Digital Watermarking Alliance, Menlo Security, Microsoft Azure, NAGRA, NexGuard, Convergent Risks, HGST, PwC, Thinklogical, Avid, Militus Cybersecurity Solutions, Amazon Web Services and Bob Gold & Associates.