Boom in video streaming pushes providers to adopt anti-piracy solutions

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With more than 17% of worldwide video streaming users streaming content illegally, service and content providers are now on the hunt to secure their content and protect their coffers, according to a new report from market research firm ABI Research.

The mutiny against video piracy will result in a content security market that will generate $1.9 billion in 2020 alone, ABI said. Anti-piracy specific solutions will reach $172 million in 2021 and grow to $229 million in 2024, representing 10% of the revenue generated by the total content security market.

As pay-TV and OTT (over-the-top) service providers battle to gain market share, they are investing heavily in premium content, advanced CPE, and technologies that support low latency and offer a better user experience.

“Despite these efforts to maintain and gain subscribers, service providers are increasingly challenged by content piracy,” noted Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research. “In fact, there is a bounty of ways to illegally view video content, which is causing service providers to not only lose millions of subscribers each year, but also lose billions in potential revenue.”

Intellectual property rights organizations from around world have been warning the industry to batten down its hatches for an increasing level of video content piracy. Live streaming and live sports are at high piracy risk in Europe to the tune of a 941-million euro loss for providers in the last year.

In North America, 7.5 million households are reportedly accessing pirated content, costing providers over $4 billion per year. Similarly, in premium content streaming through piracy websites or torrent sites are high in emerging markets in Asia-Pacific; resulting increasing number of consumers terminating legal pay TV services.

Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders imposed due to Covid-19 outbreak pushed the level of video content piracy higher. Piracy infringement tracking company Muso reported that there were 36% average daily torrent downloads between January and February 2020. Muso also indicated that significant increase in illegal video download was mainly driven by the Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide.

“Password and credential sharing, file sharing over the Internet, and purchasing illegal streaming boxes are just a few ways consumers are currently pillaging video content,” Lynn explained.

Although conditional Access Systems (CAS) and Digital Rights Management (DRM) have been used to securely deliver TV content via broadcast and IP networks, ever evolving pirate technologies are putting pressure on to deploy more advanced security solutions.

Watermarking and fingerprinting technologies, alongside emerging anti-piracy services, are the latest tools available to combat piracy. ABI said service providers need to deploy these new technologies and, at the same time, do a proper assessment in partnership with content security solution/anti-piracy vendors on deployment costs, scalability, and time-to-market.

Companies such as Irdeto and Synamedia focus on CAS/DRM and piracy tracking and monitoring services using watermarking and credential sharing tracking technologies to help content owners securely deliver content to end-users.

“Video service providers need all hands on deck to make sure content is secured end-to-end. The integration of CAS, DRM, and anti-piracy partnerships for piracy tracking, pirate activity monitoring, and response are all required to turn the tide on video piracy,” Lynn concluded. 

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