Steve Oetegenn
Steve Oetegenn
Jul 22, 2016


Ever since MovieLabs advanced the use of forensic watermarking as a part of the protection regime for UHD content services in 2014, it has been clear to industry watchers and analysts that the idea would over time gain universal support across the industry. A significant validation of this support comes with the announcement that Civolution of the Netherlands has sold its forensic-watermarking business, NexGuard Labs, to Switzerland-based Kudelski Group.

This history of our industry has been defined by shifts in technology – in delivery, in compression, in client sophistication and – very importantly – shifts in the threat to revenue streams for service operators. These shifts in threats typically lead to a re-evaluation of required security technology and can only be countered by solutions that take a holistic approach to the broad challenges of revenue security. This holistic view underscores our own toolbox-type approach that simplifies the legacy technology-centric labels of CAS, DRM etc.

One emerging threat in particular that is critical in the current context is content redistribution. The tools and threats that enable content capture and redistribution on a personal and commercial basis have become more significant business threats as Internet bandwidth and availability have grown worldwide. And this type of threat may now be eclipsing some of the more legacy industry concerns such as direct attacks on smartcards.

In this context, it has become clear that watermarking will play a pivotal role in protecting many types of premium content – including live sports, as well as movies and TV shows – in HD and UHD. This is because watermarking is the best suited technology available that is capable of tracing illicit streams back to their original legal recipient so that appropriate action such as take down can be implemented in near real time before any significant business damage can occur. 

This leads to an important point about forensic watermarking, which although mandated by movie studios, and many owners of live sporting rights, absent a fully integrated security solution, may be somewhat limited in its potential. To provide effective protection for UHD content and premium OTT services, watermarking requires full integration with other key security components that include a means to detect potentially illegal content and mechanisms to shut down confirmed sources of such content.

Verimatrix has been offering our VideoMark watermarking technology for more than 10 years, so we have had plenty of time to perform the necessary integration, which sometimes requires working with appropriate partners. It will take time for new converts to watermarking to catch up with the integration and enable equally comprehensive protection of UHD and premium OTT content.

Let us know how you feel about watermarking as an integrated component to a revenue security platform.