Home Asia-Pacific I 2014 The dark side of TV Everywhere: Keeping an eye on piracy for multi-Screen content services

The dark side of TV Everywhere: Keeping an eye on piracy for multi-Screen content services

by david.nunes
David LeporiniIssue:Asia-Pacific I 2014
Article no.:11
Topic:The dark side of TV Everywhere: Keeping an eye
on piracy for multi-Screen content services
Author:David Leporini
Title:EVP of Marketing, Products & Security
PDF size:256KB

About author

David Leporini is the Executive Vice President of Marketing, Products and Security at Viaccess Orca. Previously, he was a member of the Executive Board of Viaccess and served as CTO since 2007, as the head of system architecture and specifications, security and innovation. He was the head of security for Viaccess since 2005.
Prior to joining Viaccess, Mr Leporini was Operations Manager for Trusted Logic and was responsible for security consultancy activities and quality management. He has held several positions in CANAL+ and CANAL+ Technologies, including management of Digital Rights Management and Copy Protection activities.
David Leporini graduated from Institut National des Télécommunications and received the Doctorate degree with highest honours from the Université Paris-Sud.

Article abstract

The dark side of TV everywhere is the growing content piracy. It can take the form of ‘sharing’ subscriptions to unlock services or streaming content from link farms, directly from their sources. An antipiracy platform can detect such activity, respond with warning notifications to the end-users and alert the content service providers. It can also provide vital analytics that highlight demand trends and quantify the level of piracy.

Full Article

Video consumption habits are rapidly evolving. Today, viewers have countless options for enjoying their favorite movies and television programs on any connected device, including TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. While all of this adds up to a more engaging experience for viewers, there’s a dark side to TV Everywhere. With the advent of multi-network content delivery and multiscreen content consumption, content service providers must now address security risks and issues over content consumption on multiple devices and networks, in addition to providing high-quality content.

In a multi-screen content service environment, a major new challenge involves stopping the illegal redistribution of content itself over the Internet, in the form of illegal streaming (both live and non-live) and direct download, as content redistribution is becoming a real concern for both content service providers and content owners.
Adopting an intelligent antipiracy platform that can detect streaming and direct download and notify platform providers about illegal redistribution of content, enables content service providers to sustain their investment in content and build a foundation from which they can fully engage with customers.
This article explores major security challenges that content service providers face today and defines the key requirements of an effective antipiracy platform. The article also takes a look at real-world case studies that offer content service providers a model for dealing with the evolving threats of content service piracy.

Identifying the threats: from subscription sharing to content redistribution
Subscription sharing and illegal redistribution of live TV content over streaming and direct download platforms are two forms of piracy that have gained significant ground in all global markets.

Subscription sharing has actually taken on various forms, mainly as subscription card and Control Word (CW) sharing for broadcast Pay-TV services, and more recently as account credentials/password sharing for over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix® or Hulu™.
As an example, CWs are descrambling keys used to unlock encrypted video content, enabling subscribers who have paid for the content to view it. For many years, content service providers have relied on CW protection schemes to deliver content securely on set-top boxes. However, there have been some cases where secure chipset-based solutions could not be easily deployed in existing markets, opening the way to either card sharing (cards being shared within a pirate network), or CW sharing (CWs being redistributed via the Internet or satellite) by exploiting the legacy STB (Set Top Box) population of content service providers. In such cases, particular antipiracy services have been successfully addressed both threats for several content service providers.

Streaming and download networks are another increasing threat for content service providers and content owners that can lead to revenue loss and ‘cord-cutting’ behaviors. With such networks, pirates share the content itself as opposed to the content descrambling keys required to unlock the content. An increasing number of link farms, acting as storefronts to technical platforms, are available on the Internet from where content can actually be streamed or downloaded, are being used to provide information on live content redistribution, especially for sports events and TV series.

Key Requirements of an Antipiracy Platform
The most effective way to combat the redistribution of content over streaming and download networks is by deploying a service-based antipiracy platform that offers smart analysis of pirated content.

Generally, content is redistributed illegally via link farms through content steaming and direct download networks. Link farms are any website, official or illegal, offering illegal content free of charge or as a pay service. However, the sourcing of content streaming or content download is usually done through large content platform providers.

After identifying link farms and their corresponding content platforms, the antipiracy service has the capability of collecting a massive amount of information. Such information may include what content is being redistributed, when it starts becoming available, where it is being sent, which content service providers are being impacted, etc. Once the content is actually streamed, the antipiracy platform will inform the streaming and direct download platform provider responsible for making the content available of the infringement based on a sanctioning policy that has been agreed with the content service provider or content owner. Typically, a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act ) compliant letter is then sent to the party responsible for the infringement in order to stop them streaming in real-time for live events.

In addition to monitoring a service and identifying security threats, it is important that the antipiracy platform offers content service providers an analytic view of the situation. By consolidating relevant pieces of information and presenting them visually in the form of statistics, the antipiracy platform enables service providers to analyze, in depth, the content redistribution threat of their assets over time.

One particular type of illegal content redistribution is streaming over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. In that case, the antipiracy platform is able to access such P2P networks and monitor illegal content sharing and learn valuable information about it, such as what content is being pirated, how many people are accessing it, when they are accessing it, and from where. Measuring the P2P network audience requires the following service phases:
• Defining a list of targeted events with content service providers.
• Identifying the P2P networks’ target from a global database, by proactive watch using web-crawler tools, directly by human contact or by social engineering through distribution channels.
• Configuring and launching the audience measurement service tool.
• Analyzing the collected information.

A significant amount of data, such as P2P networks statistics and geo-location information of consumption demand, is considered a valuable asset for content service providers to quantify the importance of threats and their business impact.

Antipiracy case studies
The value of deploying a solid antipiracy solution was recently demonstrated by a major pay-TV operator who ran a set of dedicated security services during 30 major football games televised in EMEA. The services targeted subscription sharing in the form of card sharing over the Internet and CW redistribution over satellites. These techniques allow illegal distributors to resell pirated set-top boxes or subscriptions to television service offerings at a low price.

A good antipiracy solution was able to successfully detect and stop sharing services reaching hundreds of thousands of illegitimate end-users by tracking CW redistribution over satellites via dozens of pirated set-top boxes and detecting hundreds of IP addresses that were then filtered with the cooperation of impacted Internet service providers.

Another success story relates to live content redistribution during various recent major European football games. A monitoring live service pilot running on both unicast Web streaming and P2P redistribution networks was deployed during the events. Several controlled peers were used in P2P networks to achieve fast and accurate results. The antipiracy platform was able to identify audiences of between 400,000 to over 1.5 million viewers for the various football games monitored. Despite being European events, audiences in the APAC region still accounted for around ten percent of viewers, with the top three ranked countries being China, Thailand and Vietnam.

Every action on the Internet makes a digital imprint, creating a wealth of information. The traditional way of addressing piracy has been solely with a direct call to action, whether that would be a ‘takedown’ notice that demands an end to the illegal streaming, or technical actions against the network infrastructure. This approach still stands. In addition, there is the overlooked business value of data collected as intelligence by an antipiracy platform on both the actual threat level and the content being pirated.

An effective antipiracy platform should offer content service providers relevant insights about content being pirated (e.g., type/genre, timing, duration, location, audience, usage), for them to understand the content piracy landscape better and make the best possible business and technical decisions, not only against illegal content services but also for their own legitimate content services. By leveraging analytics generated by a sophisticated antipiracy platform, content service providers can gain an insight into how people are consuming content that might not yet be available as part of their service, but could be in the future – enabling them to deliver an even more engaging experience to their end-users while protecting their revenue streams efficiently.

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