The availability of pirated content on the Internet has been a major challenge for content creators and broadcasters in the contemporary world. In the simplest terms, piracy can be explained as unauthorized use of another person’s work or reproducing the same work done by someone else. Piracy of video content is not new, although it has been a little more sophisticated today. Earlier, people had access to pirated DVDs and today they have access to pirated content. For the video streaming industry, illegal distribution of videos is classified as piracy and it’s ruthlessly hampering the growth of the OTT industry.
The loss due to the availability of pirated content was close to $9.1 billion in the year 2020 alone. It is expected to grow further by 38% to $12.5 billion by 2022 if proper security measures are not put in place. The illegal downloading and streaming of video content including movies and TV shows are projected to cost the global TV and film industry approximately around $51.6 billion by 2022. Imagine not being able to reap the full benefits of your creation just because some people are accustomed to freebies!
How Is Piracy Affecting the OTT Industry?
Have you ever used a torrent link to download a video file? If your answer is yes then it’s highly likely that you have downloaded a pirated video and contributed to piracy in a way. If you were to legally watch that video, you would have paid a certain amount of money as an access fee to watch it. Now, this amount was never received by the content creator as the video was available free of cost. This is how piracy affects content creators, multiplying this a million times might get you closer to the aggregate effect it might have on the industry. As per research reports, as high as 17% of worldwide streaming audiences access content illegally.
As per the latest research report, it was found that the OTT platforms lose up to 50% of the subscription revenue to piracy and pirated content available on the internet. The entertainment industry in general has been battling piracy for a long time. File sharing websites like Bit-Torrent accounts for 3% of the global downstream traffic and almost 22% of the upstream traffic. As per a case study on Netflix, it was found that the OTT giant losses almost $192 million every month due to password sharing, let alone piracy.
Two primary reasons instigate piracy. Let’s delve deeper to understand the root cause of piracy and why it is so widespread in today’s world.
- Unavailability of Product in a Certain Geography
The first reason in this list is the unavailability of digital products in a certain geography. Many a time, it happens that some video content is limited to a certain geography and not available for the global audience. You may have observed that some movies that might have released globally haven’t been released in your country or an OTT content that is limited to a certain nation/audience. This compels people to look for alternatives who end up watching pirated content.
2. Unaffordability of a Product
The second and most obvious reason that contributes to piracy is the unaffordability of a digital product/service. Have you ever skipped a subscription because it was on the higher end of your budget or way overpriced? Well, affordability is a very subjective matter. At times, the subscription rates are very high for the general audience and they prefer the alternative, that is watching pirated content rather than paying for it.
How Can You Overcome These Security Constraints?
Piracy is a really big and imminent threat looming over the OTT industry worldwide. So how can one overcome these security constraints and get more people to watch paid content rather than switching to easy alternatives like accessing free pirated content? Some of the best practices that OTT service providers need to follow includes using encryption & restrictions, HTTPS delivery, securing content rights, bypass blocking, etc. Technologies like forensic watermarking and fingerprinting are also available for OTT streaming service providers to secure their digital content and keep piracy at bay.
One should be very cautious while choosing an OTT platform if they don’t want freeloaders and hackers to intrude and obtain their online content illegally. Self-hosted video content platforms like CONTUS VPlayed are among the best options available if you are looking to boost up your security measures. It will help to protect your digital content from cyber theft and also provide you with 100% ownership of your content. The streaming infrastructure offered by CONTUS VPlayed is well equipped with robust privacy and security protocols to safeguard your digital content.
Let’s dig deeper into some of the most essential features that an online video streaming platform should have for a secure viewing experience without any piracy challenges.
A strong online video platform should offer end-to-end video encryption to provide a secure viewing experience. An HLS encryption along with AES 128-bit encrypted streaming is considered a standard secure video encryption streaming protocol. Your online platform should also offer partial and open key exchange mechanisms using HLS encryption just like CONTUS VPlayed.
Encoding & Decoding
An online video platform must offer a buffer-free streaming experience to the audience irrespective of their bandwidth. The use of adaptive bitrate technology is prevalent in high-quality online video platform providers. Players like CONTUS also provide a transmixing feature that allows one to repackage audio and video files into different formats to improve the streaming experience.
Screen Record Protection
The screenshot prevention or screen record protection feature is a must-have for online video platforms that aim to curb piracy and protect content from being illegally distributed. Your platform should be smart enough to restrict screenshots even when videos are paused just like one offered by CONTUS VPlayed.
Robust access control features offered by some of the best online video platform providers allow you to set-up multi-factor authentication. It aims to provide a secure viewing experience to the users and also helps to protect their streaming history and personal data. Let’s take a quick look into some popular authentication techniques that are generally used to improve security.
Knowledge: This factor includes things you know or have created to restrict access, such as PIN, passwords, OTP, etc. It also includes answering personal security questions.
Possession: This factor includes things that you have physical possession of, like smartphones or badges. It also includes things like software tokens and certificates, access badges, smart cards, USV devices, etc.
Inherence: Inherence has a narrow focus and includes authentication factors that you inherit, it includes such as biometrics such as fingerprints, voice recognition, etc. It can also factor in behavioral analysis.
One can use a source or password-based authentication to protect their online video platform from cyber-attacks and piracy. A strong password protection feature helps to lock your on-demand or live streaming content and protect it from unauthorized access.
Global Data Rights Management
An online video platform provider must offer a global data rights management system to protect digital content against piracy and unauthorized use. A robust data rights management feature helps to protect your copyrights and give you full ownership of your content. The need for global DRM is increasing as digital content doesn’t have geographical limits.
A Single Sign-on (SSO) system helps to improve the customer experience and boosts customer satisfaction. Just imagine a one-step sign-in process without any complications. SSO system helps to ease the user authentication process by using only a single set of login credentials.
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a must-have feature for online video content portals that claim to provide end-to-end encryption and copyright protection for content creators and broadcasters. AES used in CONTUS VPlayed provides a robust symmetric encryption algorithm that helps to seamlessly protect your digital content.
Piracy has been a major concern for players in the OTT space. One needs to have access to a secure platform that can help them protect their digital content and audience data. Security can be a major challenge if you are looking to expand your streaming business and reach a wider audience segment. CONTUS VPlayed is among the most secure online video platforms that can help you provide enterprise-scale security and privacy features to provide a seamless streaming experience to a wide range of audience across multiple devices and media formats.
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