CES 2020: NAGRA Looks at the Complete Security Picture; Verance Ups Watermarking Game

LAS VEGAS — NAGRA and its parent company Kudelski Group decided to make CES 2020 a first: every security product the company has — Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise security, scalable service protection, watermarking, you name it — was present and accounted for.

“What we’re seeing increasingly is that set-top security used to be a straight line, and now it’s a maze,” said Tim Pearson, senior director of product marketing for NAGRA. “There are now a massive amount of devices people want to watch content on, and while content protection itself is very much core to us, we expand that out, look at the entire ecosystem.

NAGRA continues to look at new ways to protect connected home, including providing consumers with more intelligence around the vulnerabilities and data of their devices, Pearson said. And on the content provider front, NAGRA is aiming to help them better secure an often-chaotic digital world.

“We’re helping operators to identify different ways to monitor threats, give them additional levers they can use to offer limits on devices used.”

Also at CES 2020:

• Digital platform security specialist Irdeto used CES to announce that the governing body of football in South America, CONMEBOL, has tapped it to protect its brand and combat piracy of live football match broadcasts.

CONMEBOL, which licenses broadcast rights of its matches to several operators around the world will use Irdeto Online Piracy Detection and Cyber Services to combat the growing threat of theft of live-streamed sports.

Irdeto will monitor all matches and help address the challenge of online redistribution piracy, and will also be providing brand protection monitoring and services.

“As one of FIFA’s six continental confederations, responsible for the organization and governance of South American football’s major international tournaments, both the CONMEBOL brand and live football content are extremely valuable and must be protected,” said Bengt Jonsson, SVP of sales and services for Irdeto. “The confederation understands the importance of combining cutting edge technology with proactive services to ensure that illegal content streams are taken down quickly so substantial license investments are not devalued and consumers are not exposed to the dangers that come from illegal content sources and illegitimate brand infringements.”

Juan Emilio Roa, commercial director of CONMEBOL, added: “South American football attracts a global audience who expect great games and a premium experience, and the protection of the live signal quality of our matches and our brand, is crucial to this.Irdeto’s experience in the protection of live sports content and its ability to provide sophisticated online piracy detection technology combined with proactive services aimed at protecting our brand and taking down illegal content, makes it the perfect partner as the global interest in South American football continues to increase.”

• To kick off the 2020 edition of CES, video software provider Synamedia shared its findings of a new anti-piracy study, showing more than three million streaming credentials and passwords are either being shared or are up for sale online, and that password sharing is costing at two streaming companies more than $72 million a year combined.

According to Synamedia’s research — done with the help of those two unnamed video service providers — more than three million streaming credentials have been compromised across both the dark and open web during the last six months. Additionally, the analysis found that the video service providers Synamedia worked with are losing more than $72 million of potential revenue each year, thanks to lost subscription fees, and password sharing among half a million non-paying users.

“The streaming wars are not going away, and the massive threat of streaming video piracy can no longer be ignored. It’s simply too costly,” said Jean-Marc Racine, chief product officer for Synamedia. “The eye-opening statistics from these investigations illustrate just a microcosm of the real impact we’re seeing worldwide.

Synamedia’s findings showed that the service providers it worked with were unaware of 15% (or more than 500,000) of users who were accessing content using passwords from the other 85% of paying subscribers. Converting just 7% of those “freeloaders” into paying subscribers would results in $5 million in additional revenue for each company, Synamedia concluded.

Synamedia pointed to estimates that OTT and pay TV operators saw a combined $9.1 billion in lost revenue in 2019, due to piracy and account sharing, as a main threat to their bottom line going forward.

“In order to survive, video providers must defend their livelihood with state-of-the-art technology, the intelligence of experts who think like pirates do, and who know how they work so they can move even faster than the relentless thieves,” Racine said.

Additionally at CES 2020, Synamedia announced it is joining Pearl TV within the Phoenix Model Market Initiative, in order to deliver encoding expertise and services for ATSC 3.0 deployment.

• At CES, watermarking solutions provider Verance made its video watermark technology available as part of its Aspect platform, which powers broadband features on TV by enabling sports betting, dynamic ads and interactivity across screens.

The Aspect video watermark commercial implementation of the ATSC video watermark specification, and will bring enhanced capabilities to the Aspect audio watermark, which has already been deployed by U.S. broadcasters FOX, NBC and PBS.

The audio and video watermarks support multiple standards and work in the ATSC 1.0 broadcast environment.

“The pairing of Aspect audio and video watermarks provides our programming and ecosystem partners with an accelerated path to capture revenue from addressable advertising,” said Joe Winograd, EVP and CTO of Verance. “Together, they provide superior reach, reliability and performance capabilities, which is precisely why the ATSC and HbbTV standards include specifications for both watermarks.”

The paring of the Aspect audio and video watermarking solutions will provide for activation of dynamic ad insertion across all devices and distribution paths; provide 100% positive ID of live and time-shifted content, and distinguishes between DVR playback and VOD; and is interoperable with existing and future digital ad insertion services, including ATSC, HbbTV/DVB-Targeted Advertising and Project OAR.

“Both watermarks allow the information required for DAI activation in a television set to pass through any distribution environment seamlessly, including over HDMI links and through existing distribution equipment and set-top boxes,” Verance announced. “Without watermarking, viewers receiving television service via cable, satellite and over-the-top distribution paths (over 80% of current U.S. households) will be unable to receive dynamically addressable advertising.”