Ever since major Hollywood studios and other global production houses have moved to the OTT space, piracy has evolved as a major revenue cutter in the entertainment industry. Viewers have multiple reasons why they opt for pirate networks to access the content when it is also available through legitimate sources. Content owners and OTT platforms on the one side and pirate networks and their users on the other, the entertainment industry has a real problem at hand to tackle revenue leakage of the DRM protected content.
The biggest challenge that the OTT industry faces outside of Europe and the US is viewers are extremely price sensitive. They can switch between services quickly if they get a better deal. Moreover, they do not prefer to pay upfront for the whole year. Instead, they choose smaller subscription amount for every month. This type of price sensitivity takes them to the piracy market.
Before the OTT streaming platforms became a reality, the piracy market filled a supply gap. Piracy networks operated through CDs and DVDs of major Hollywood films that were not released in developing countries. Though, it is possible to release a new OTT show all around the world simultaneously, OTT companies choose to optimize content for each market. Piracy networks capitalize on these strategies of mainstream OTT players and take their pirated content to these markets and make a killing.
OTT companies use the multi-DRM suite, in which video watermarking technology is a separate component, to control piracy in such regions. For pirates to be able to stream content, they need to access a decrypted copy of the video asset. Given the robustness of the DRM technology, the video asset cannot be accessed with decryption, which can be done through a license key, for which they need a legitimate user account.
Content owners trace piracy at this point. Each forensic watermark carries obfuscated information about device ID, session ID, username, copyright information, etc. Content owners can extract watermarks from any frame of the video asset and match it with their user database to reach the user who leaks the content and take appropriate action.