Time, And Pirates, Wait For None

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    Alexander Stoyanov, PlayBox Technology Europe’s sales director tells Vinita Bhatia that time is a dominant criterion in digital content and plays a key role in piracy; as pirates strive to get hold of unauthorised content before anyone else does.

    What are some major threats that TV broadcasters face when it comes to content security?

    In brief, it is about ‘losing or abusing’. If they lose their content, there is absolutely nothing to show viewers, and they not only lose viewing figures, but also income.

    On the other hand, they don’t want somebody else taking advantage of their precious assets, for which they have paid good money. By losing, I am not just referring to just the physical aspects. More often than not, channels have tons of content, and are unable to manage it all at the right time.

    Hence, they either need to re-generate this content or re-purchase it. This comes at a price. That is why no matter what the size of the channel, it is advisable for them to obtain a decent media asset management (MAM) or business process management (BPM) solution. It certainly pays off in the long run.

    What is propelling broadcasters to take content security seriously in recent times?

    What pushes banks to protect their money, or trust funds their investments? For broadcasters, content is their core asset that they can monetize. If they go to the market with an empty basket, they end up only being able to sell the actual basket.

    This happens with several channels that have lost or undervalued their content. They stop generating income or shut down. We see this especially in regions, where in the past there were a large number of channels, artificially sustained for some reason, but offering no real value for the viewer.

    Are certain domains in broadcasting, like live sports, more susceptible to security threats or piracy?

    The more attractive the content, the more threats it will attract. Actually there are a lot of additional aspects to be considered. Nowadays, we see how timing plays a key role as the most important aspect in piracy, as is not just about pirates getting their hands on the latest movie or football match, but getting hold of it before anyone else does. Time is a dominant criterion in digital content – right from the time of content creation to distribution, through to the time of expiry.

    As broadcasters deliver on multi-platform content, how can they ensure that they have the highest levels of content security integrated within the core of their business operations and across various delivery platforms?

    101% security is a myth. We often joke that even planet earth can be viewed as a Single Point Of Failure. Yet, the best tool to keep your content safe with is one’s very own mindset. Mentality, along with the right corporate attitude and workflow culture are vital elements.

    Security must not mean restrictions because once it becomes a drawback, people begin to dislike it and become negligent in respecting it. This results in insecurity. No matter what top level systems you implement, the human factor can always let you down.

    What are some new innovations in content security in the broadcasting domain?

    Watermarking, encrypting, cloud storage – they are all out there. However, there are many broadcasters for who having a digital copy of the taped version is still quite an invention.

    Increasingly, broadcasters are opting for various cloud services as it ensures lower investments in equipment, lower operating expenses and smaller teams to deliver their channels. Can they opt for the same when it comes to content security as well?

    Content security can be compared to putting the right lock on your vault. With cloud technologies becoming more mainstream, you can put the lock on somebody’s else vault as well, hoping that the owner doesn’t have a spare key. In terms of OPEX, the price of the lock is always expected to be lower than the value of the vault.

    However, one of the limitations of cloud services is probably connectivity in the first place. I was involved in a considerable number of projects where infrastructure was an issue. Not only in terms of non-developed countries, but as well as in exaggerated security networks, which were pure isolators. Again, this is followed by the psychological perception that your content is “somewhere, far, beyond” and is vulnerable to bad intentions. To what extent can you trust your cloud provider? Is it the same provider of your main competitor as well?

    Does using cloud content security service give broadcasters a competitive edge?

    It depends on the method of working as well as the business model of the channel. Always keep in mind that content security is a chain with a lot of linked elements. Using cloud content security service for one element, does not necessarily mean you have secured it end-to-end.

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