Revenue Security Takes on New Meaning
Traditional pay-TV operators have always been highly focused on revenue security by way of theft of service prevention – for two main reasons. Subscriber fees are obviously a significant revenue source and piracy through theft of service is very prevalent, particularly in certain markets CASBAA for country-specific piracy rates). Smart cards were really the only solution available back in the one-way broadcast days and content protection was certainly a secondary objective. Compare that with IPTV operators. In the early days, theft of service was never a forefront requirement when building their networks – for two main reasons.
They felt they had more control with fixed networks where the end device was a set-top box, so the threat of theft of service was potentially lower. In addition, content owners saw the emerging Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) as a potential threat and imposed much higher security requirements in order to gain rights to premium programming. Despite claims to the contrary from smart card vendors, software-based security was deemed acceptable in a two-way network and content protection was key to a full channel lineup to attract subscribers. With the appeal of hybrid networks and novel OTT (over-the-top) services, all types of pay-TV operators find themselves in new revenue security territory. Cable and satellite providers are making strategic decisions to add more interactive services, many of which are delivered over IP-based networks. They are finding that software-only security solutions offer a more economical alternative, which are far easier to deploy, compared with smart cards that simply do not translate in the two-way environment, in particular in the case of mobile devices. IPTV providers are now looking into OTT services that deliver content outside their controlled, managed network. They need layered security solutions to take advantage of different delivery mechanisms outside of the living room. Plus IPTV operators with rights to exclusive content have become an attractive target for hackers, so theft of service prevention is a higher priority. You can now put revenue security on the list of how these pay-TV services are converging. Operators require a flexible protection solution that can handle different networks, delivery formats, multiple end devices and the addition of new services – the ultimate goal is help monetize content, increase ARPU and reduce churn. Come see me at Digital Hollywood Fall where we will tackle the latest DRM standards and actual technology implementations – today at 12:30!