March 30, 2021

How sport rights owners can secure their premium content with NexGuard forensic watermarking

Piracy is a common and growing problem for the pay-TV industry, fuelled by the rapid uptake of streaming devices. NAGRA’s own research estimates that about 10% of the media industry revenue is lost to piracy. Urgent actions are required to reduce the impact of piracy for video service providers worldwide.

One of the key weapons in a video service providers arsenal is watermarking – and for distribution, network-level watermarking.  A key part of any service security strategy, it works alongside other security components such as Anti-Piracy and other advanced security tools which are backed up by comprehensive analytics.  Collectively termed by NAGRA Active Streaming Protection, it forms the baseline of a video service providers security strategy with the relevant components being selected depending on the business need.

But let’s focus on watermarking, and, as we recently discussed during the 24h of Ateme webinar program, in particular network-level watermarking which is designed to enable content owners and broadcasters to identify the source of live content – such as premium sport – piracy leaks, whether from playout centre, licensee, affiliate or distribution platform. 

Why network-level watermarking?

The combination of content scrambling and forensic watermarking are complementary in the fight against piracy, but forensic watermarking is the only technology that can provide key insights on the source of piracy. When combined with Anti-Piracy Services, network-level watermarking allows quick identification of which licensee and territory pirates most often source their content from during live sport events.

Several benefits can then be realised by sport rights owners:

  • Analysis of the licensing income per territory against the piracy risk
  • Review of their content licensing strategy and management of the contract risk
  • Adjustment of their content protection investment, by taking appropriate anti-piracy actions.

This quick identification of the pirate source is only possible due to the capabilities of network-level watermarking:

  • It is imperceptible to the human eye
  • Its robustness against a wide range of attacks seen in the field
  • The capabilities of the Anti-Piracy team to automatically run blind investigations with a very fast turnaround time for the detection results (allowing anti-piracy actions during the live sport events).

NexGuard NetworkID ─ the network-level watermarking technology developed by NAGRA ─ meets all these key characteristics.

NAGRA and Ateme have partnered during the past years to provide sport rights owners with a joint solution, combining NexGuard NetworkID (for network-level watermarking) and BISS-CA (for scrambling satellite contribution and distributions). The strong partnership between NAGRA and Ateme at several levels in the linear distribution workflow provides content owners and their ecosystem with an exhaustive suite of solutions to seamlessly deploy scrambling and watermarking and thus actively fight against piracy.

Control over data

To be truly effective, forensic watermarking needs to form part of a wider anti-piracy strategy. That strategy must incorporate holistic data analysis to identify infringing trends in the stream and enables faster reaction times to stop the pirates in their tracks. In the case of live events, such as soccer, cricket or basketball, having readily accessible insight that is enabled through quality data and analysis is crucial to stemming any piracy quickly.

Combining network-level watermarking and anti-piracy services

Network-level watermarking, such as NAGRA NexGuard Network ID, supplements Anti-Piracy Services, by providing key piracy insights like detailed information on piracy from their licensees or from distribution paths.

This combination allows sport rights owners to focus their anti-piracy efforts where it matters the most, and to better monetise their premium content.  

Making the most of your solution

Knowing where your content is pirated from is one thing but having the roadmap in place that enables sport rights owners to take systematic and conclusive action is another. The important first step is developing an end-to-end content value protection strategy using tools from the active streaming protection toolset that can actively withstand the threat. Using a combination of content scrambling, forensic watermarking and anti-piracy services delivers a highly capable solution that can be adjusted according to piracy trends and insights as both a feedback loop to continuously improve the fight against piracy and as a means of scaling the video service business as the content catalogue grows.

Click here to watch the 24h of ATEME webinar recording.

Click here to get in touch with our experts and learn more how your business can benefit from network-level watermarking.