Why OTT platforms prefer open DRM system to deter piracy

OTT platform subscriptions you can have if you are a true binge-watcher

OTT platforms have become an indispensable part of modern living. Be it a new release or a mega sporting event, audiences all over the world log in to their favorite platform to access the high definition video streams. The popularity of OTT platforms rests on conten producers’ confidence in the security against piracy this sector is able to offer through digital rights management (DRM) and video watermarking systems.

Content producers prefer DRM technology as it offers great control over the viewability of their content on streaming platforms according to parameters like device fragmentation, number of users per account, geofencing, subscription plans, etc. Due to device and operating system diversity, the most common DRM systems in the market today are the ones developed by the companies that develop operating systems. For example, Google has Widevine Modular because it has a large share of the mobile market through Android and PC market through Chrome web browser. Microsoft’s PlayReady DRM system is popular due to near absolute dominance of Windows operating system and modest popularity of the Edge browser. Apple’s FairPlay is needed because of Mac OS and iOS. DRM protected content can also be played using OS-neutral DRM systems, like Adobe Primetime (a successor to Adobe Access, its flash-based DRM).

Due to this diversity, content producers tend to engage the services of multi-DRM vendors, which seamlessly integrate all these systems through a common interface. They depend on an open system through HTML5 Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions, which address the issue of fragmentation both in mobile devices and desktops. Users and content producers have rejected legacy systems like Microsoft Silverlight that was needed to play DRM protected content earlier. Regular updates, bugs, security holes, extra effort required to play proprietary content were some of the reasons why open systems became popular.

OTT platforms are able to address the issue of secure content play using the multi-DRM system using open protocols. If the content still reaches the piracy market, content producers prefer to catch the pirate through forensic watermarks embedded in video frames.


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