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December 13, 2011

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A Service Provider’s Guide to Licensing and Securing Content for Multi-network, Multi-screen

As a content and revenue security specialist for digital TV, and as our customers plan for and roll out multi-network and multi-screen video services, we are being constantly asked about the protection requirements that will apply to specific types of content and different device types. With the number of devices hitting the market and the rapid evolution of licensing policies in response to technological developments, the answers to these types of questions can be a moving target. The claims and counterclaims by those in our industry about “approval” and the significance of various threats add to the noise level. To help navigate this landscape and to better serve our customers and the market, we helped develop a paper that will serve as a content licensing and security guide for video service providers planning multi-network, multi-screen services. We teamed with Bill Rosenblatt, founder of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, who has been steeped in digital rights and content management technologies for many years and has served as technical expert in litigation and public policy initiatives related to digital copyright. Basically, he has the studio relationships, technical and legal chops and objective perspective to summarize available information and draw conclusions that are valuable to service providers. We believe this is the most comprehensive guide available today on how the approach to multi-screen and TV Everywhere types of services relate to traditional licensing and security rules. In general, we found that practical security requirements for over-the-top (OTT) services and portable devices are becoming more analogous to traditional video delivery as the industry matures, meaning the requirements are becoming more stringent.

It is HD content, delivered to any device, that has become primary benchmark in licensing terms and security requirements. The physical media delivery regime for HD was fundamentally grounded in the AACS protection model – now the application of similar principles and in the digital delivery domain is part of the background, although we are seeing trends that this is changing.

In fact, the content of this first version of the paper highlights areas – licensing attributes, new security techniques, release windows, usage rules and studio policies – that are most in flux and provides signposts on where requirements are headed. Of course, market dynamics will never stop shifting. Content owners will attempt to influence them through their licensing deals, and content protection requirements are among the most important licensing terms.  When appropriate, we will update our conclusions over time and use future versions of the paper as a vehicle for updates and elaborations as the industry evolves.

Whether you are a traditional managed-network operator, an OTT video startup, or an ecosystem partner developing devices and apps for premium video delivery, this paper is a must-read to gain a better understanding of content and revenue security in the changing world of multi-screen services.

If you are facing some of these choices in launching new breeds of services, please take a minute to download this paper and let us know what you think. We look forward to continuing this discussion!

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