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The Akamai Blog

Taking Content Protection to the Edge

To protect our industry, we need to protect our content.

That's been an ongoing theme in conversations with Akamai's broadcast customers whose streaming offerings have evolved into critical business units.

 

The revenue loss figures in question aren't trivial, nor is the scope of the impact. Global online piracy is costing the U.S. media economy alone $29 billion every year according to "Impacts of Digital Video Piracy on the U.S. Economy," a study published by NERA Economic Consulting and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Information Policy Center. The study also estimated that between 230,000 and 560,000 jobs are lost annually as a result of displacement by piracy. 

To help protect our customers from pirates' attempts to capture content and minimize their means of illegal distribution, Akamai has developed a content security ecosystem combining our own capabilities with those of key partners. In addition to addressing common pirate attack vectors such as credential theft, system hacking, rebroadcasting stolen streams, and VPN abuse, the ecosystem now includes a range of third-party watermarking solutions. Giving customers the flexibility to work with their vendor of choice, Akamai to date has partnered with the following leading watermarking providers:

  • ContentArmor Forensic Watermarking

  • Friend MTS ASiD Watermarking

  • INKA Entworks PallyCon Forensic Watermarking

  • Irdeto TraceMark

  • NAGRA NexGuard Forensic Watermarking

  • Verimatrix Watermarking, StreamMark version

With partners that support A/B watermarking, Akamai has taken a further step of integrating their capabilities into our edge network. This allows customers to realize the added benefit of Akamai's scale, reach, and performance. Otherwise, watermarking is offered as a joint solution.

The urgency to shut down illegal streams is normally greatest in the case of live sports. This is where significant money has been invested in streaming rights, and the value of the content is highest during what's typically a narrow window of competition time. Akamai's Access Revocation solution gives rights holders the power to immediately stop video streams that are unauthorized or the source of piracy. Access Revocation can work on its own or integrated with either the Friend MTS or NAGRA watermarking solutions to be part of a formidable "prevent-discover-enforce" content security posture. The partnerships that established content security providers are forming with Akamai demonstrate the critical role the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform plays in helping to combat the growing issue of video piracy.

BeIN Media Group Chief Executive Yousef Al-Obaidly recently discussed the challenges in an interview with SportsPro, noting that the value of live sports is delivered in seconds rather than minutes and hours. "You either make your money now or you don't make money, it's as simple as that," Al-Obaidly said. "And that's why people should try to immediately close these pirate sites, not to wait until 45 minutes, because the damage has already been done if we wait."

While we've seen a greater sense of urgency when it comes to securing live events, these combined solutions are equally effective for linear/simulcast streaming and video on demand use cases. For any instance, the integrations are complete and ready to go out of the box so users can begin securing their content and protecting revenues right away.

All of the watermarking solution providers above are part of Akamai's Media Technology Partner program. The program is designed to foster interoperability, and referral agreements between Akamai and best-of-breed third-party solutions providers give customers a range of options in selecting workflow components that work seamlessly with Akamai solutions deployed on the Akamai platform.

For more information, see Akamai's Media Content Security Solutions.

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai.