Video service operators weigh the
long-term implications of short-term choices
Over-the-top content is a $144 billion growth opportunity
for video service operators (VSOs). Consumer electronics (CE)
devices will outsell set-top boxes by a factor of 10 in 2017, and
online video subscribers will more than double by 2021 even
as conventional pay TV subscribers continue to stagnate.
VSOs are aggressively investing to achieve parity across
managed and unmanaged service delivery. A business-critical part of this transition is moving beyond simple
stream encryption to implement full-fledged multidigital
rights management (DRM) protection for premium video.
Content will need to be secured with DRM, and to an
increasingly robust level, when being delivered to devices
ranging from small screen devices like smartphones all the
way up to smart TVs.
Secure cross-platform delivery is much easier said than
done. Surging growth in DRM-secured video delivery has
driven a new wave of standardization aimed at easing the
costs and complexities of building cross-platform video
features for VSOs and browser developers alike.
VSOs usually perceive the implication of 1: 1 browser-DRM
binding and requirements for hardware protected paths to be
that there is no longer freedom of choice in DRM. In reality,
the choice of DRM isn’t set in stone. Plug-ins are already
in use to enable continued use of existing infrastructure,
including HLS and existing DRM usage. Certainly, browser
suppliers, in their quest to simplify their own product line
and reduce maintenance costs, are continuously curtailing
support for plug-ins. Nonetheless, alternatives for VSOs
remain available and viable.
In addition to one or more native DRMs on a device,
downloadable DRMs are very much in play as an option.
Next, we discuss six factors that create a framework to drive
a discussion regarding the relative pros and cons of taking
a native or a downloadable approach for your video service
business such as Verimatrix are at the forefront of this
ecosystem, providing the ability to deliver controlled, secure
content experiences to a range of CE devices at reasonable
cost. These app-based solutions enable VSOs to go beyond the
confines of native DRM and player frameworks, and choose a
protection and playback approach that is best suited to their
immediate and long-term business needs.
Fundamentally, the debate bet ween native vs. downloadable
DRM, and by extension about browser-based vs app-based
playback, is a debate about choice and control. For OT T services,
the browser can always be used as a fallback, but shouldn’t
always be what you lead with. Next, we discuss six factors that
create a framework to drive a discussion regarding the relative
pros and cons of taking a native or a downloadable approach
for your video service business.