Best DRM practices for deploying multi-DRM tech in OTT industry

By Carl Avery Jan15,2021

The global proliferation of video-streaming platforms has necessitated the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology, which helps them manage user rights, stem piracy, and control file resolution. Most media platforms have stopped using the one-time encryption approach, as it is prone to hacking and can easily leak premium content to the piracy market. It is also not user friendly, since it requires users to input encryption keys separately to decode the video file. This process vitiates the viewing experience of users who pay a handsome amount to access the content.

Though, theoretically, the DRM technology solves these problems, it throws many challenges at OTT platforms. For example, it is not easy to anticipate for them on which device the end user will access their content. It depends on geographical trends, price of handsets, market domination by mobile app companies, etc. Android and iOS are market leaders in mobile phone operating systems, while Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge dominate the browser market. Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions rule the desktop space. The plethora of choices help the user choose how they want to view premium streaming content, but OTT players are left to tackle the content leakage issue with all these variables as potential leakage points. What complicates the matter is that the companies behind these variables – Google, Apple, and Microsoft – have their own DRM offerings, namely Widevine, FairPlay, and PlayReady respectively, which OTT players need to accommodate to create a comprehensive product.

A multi DRM service solution solves these challenges seamlessly without the end user either noticing the frequently changing steps of a complex workflow or having to make any intervention, like inputting the encryption key, changing browsers, etc. Video-streaming platforms should simply adopt a multi-DRM approach and the best possible security practise to stop content leakage and manage user rights. It involves the following practises:

  • Subscribe to an optimized plan offered by a multi-DRM service provider and pay as you go. Choosing a flexible plan helps both small producers as well as major studios as price is tied to the number of users. Thus, the producer pays more only when there is an increase in the number of users.
  • Use the multi-DRM web interface to upload the video file for encoding and generate the output in DASH and HLS to allow for device compatibility.
  • Choose a security suite that manages not just multiple DRMs offered by the big three but also protects video playbacks against screen capture. Inserting forensic watermarks in video files offers an extra layer of protection.
  • Choose a service that encrypts files using AES-128 or higher degree of cryptography.
  • Use a multi-DRM SaaS that ties DRM licenses to individual device keys.

A good multi-DRM suite should check all these boxes and more and offer security features in a single workflow.

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