Rule change in the battle against pirates

25 May 2017

The growth of high speed broadband in Asia has changed the nature of video piracy, with downloads giving way to streaming over IP and requiring a new “360 degree” response.

That’s the view of Roger Harvey, regional sales director for security vendor Irdeto in Asia-Pacific, who has seen the proliferation of “IP boxes” which allow users to access thousands of global television channels illegally.

Irdeto recently commissioned a global consumer online piracy survey and found that while 78% of APAC consumers are aware that sharing pirated video is illegal, 61% still choose to watch it. This is significantly higher than the US, where the latter figure is 32%, and Europe, 45%.

Part of the reason that piracy is lower in the US is because subscription video on demand (SVOD) models are inexpensive and easy to use, while pirate sites are often infected with malware.

While Asia’s broadband is getting faster, content providers in the SVOD space are not as advanced, meaning that people turn to pirates more often to find what they want to watch.

“Broadband has created a massive shift in piracy and how you deal with it,” says Harvey.

“Five years ago you had people trying to break encryption systems, but these systems are so much more advanced, but what you have now is the broadband speed which makes it easy to take the content in the clear and put it over the internet.”

The shift to “linear” viewing to viewing on demand has also changed the technical infrastructure and the devices people are using to view content, and each of these devices has their own digital rights management (DRM) technology which needs to be understood by service providers.

“These days you need some sort of watermarking on content so you can trace the source,” says Harvey.

“And once you have that you can deploy 360 degree security. And that means scouring the web using our crawlers, finding the content and then taking it down at the source.”

Irdeto was the first western vendor to have an agreement with Alibaba, where it has succeeded in shutting down thousands of online advertisements for pirate devices from dozens of suppliers on the Alibaba platform.

The company also works with Google, and with many subscription television providers such as Australia’s Foxtel, where the 360 approach helps minimize revenue leakage.

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