CPS 2018: NAGRA’s Tholen Lays Out Watermarking Options


MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — By 2022, the fiscal losses to content owners due to piracy is expected to hit north of $51 billion, double what was estimated in 2016. And a significant chunk of that will be lost by rights holders in the sports sector, according to Harrie Tholen, VP of sales, for NAGRA anti-piracy and NexGuard watermarking.

“Ten years ago, piracy was about music, then it was about movies and TV, but in the last few years, sports has become very important in terms of piracy,” he said, speaking Dec. 5 during a presentation at the annual Content Protection Summit, presented by the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA). “Sports is a big reason live and linear channels are still popular.”

Between the ease of use of piracy technology and the cost to subscribe to sports packages, piracy has increasingly become an attractive option for people, Tholen said. But sports rights holders are finding ways to fight back, with some of the world’s top l rights holders publishing their own security requirements for licensees (similar to what Movielabs does for movies), which require operational security measures, credential handling, DRM requirements, and, maybe most importantly, watermarking.

These watermarking solutions include distribution watermarking for channel providers, to help identify from which licensee the pirated content comes from; and session-based watermarking, allowing operators to identify users that re-stream content.

The benefits for distribution watermarking are numerous: the solution allows rights holders to trace the distribution path, platform or affiliate that’s the most significant source of piracy, and provides information that can helps fix insecure links or technologies, Tholen said. It enables the optimization of release windows, and quick proof of ownership of content for take-down notices and legal cases.

By embedding a “distributor mark” in assets and linear TV feeds, and subsequently monitoring the internet for pirated files and streams, content owners can now find patterns of piracy, to better optimize their content distribution strategies, Tholen said.

As streaming technology has improved, so too has the piracy technology to steal it, Tholen noted (“What’s really growing is IPTV piracy via pirate boxes,” he said) and that’s caused NAGRA to introduce its NexGuard QuickMark technology, a client-side watermarking solution for live sports that offers near real-time identification of OTT devices used as source of piracy. The client-side solution doesn’t impact encoders or CDNs and is a complement to NAGRA’s other anti-piracy services.

The 2018 CDSA Content Protection Summit was presented by SafeStream, and sponsored by Edgescan, Microsoft Azure, LiveTiles, Aspera, Amazon Web Services, Convergent Risks, Dolby, Illumio, NAGRA, EIDR, the Trusted Partner Network (TPN), Videocites, Human-i-t, Telesoft and Bob Gold and Associates and is produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) in association with CDSA, the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), Smart Content Council and Women in Technology Hollywood (WiTH).

To download the presentation slides and audio of the NAGRA CPS presentation, click here and here.