Verimatrix Promotes Harmonized Rights Management To Handle Multiple DRMs

The dash to multiscreen has created disruption and added complexity for the pay TV industry, but at least the process has been smoothed to some extent by convergence around common standards for Adaptive Bit Rate Atreaming (ABRS) and encryption technologies.

ABRS brings various benefits, most notably, to give users the best quality possible at a given time subject to varying network conditions over any large distributed network using the HTTP protocol. This is typically the public Internet, although distribution is increasingly assisted by a growing population of CDNs (Content Distribution Networks) to optimize delivery with a degree of multicasting out towards the broadband access networks, standardizing around MPEG DASH.

Simultaneously, encryption is converging around CENC (Common Encryption Scheme), specifying standard scrambling and key mapping methods that can be exploited by multiple DRMs (Digital Rights Management) for decryption of a given video file. This raises one important aspect where consensus is not breaking out, over the DRM itself. 

As broadcast and pay TV revenue protection specialist Verimatrix pointed out in a recent blog, the dream of a single DRM serving all pay TV services and viewing platforms was abandoned long ago because it was untenable and now operators are having to get used to living in a multi-DRM world.

The challenge here lies in proliferation of DRM variants for different emerging target viewing platforms, according to Verimatrix President Steve Oetegenn. He wrote in the blog, “[This is] fragmenting the overall service delivery ecosystem and complicating the task of reaching all target platforms for OTT content delivery, at a time when rate of deployment is accelerating rapidly.”

At the same time, service providers are having to shore up their security frameworks for Internet delivery of premium content to multi-screens, including high end services like early release-window Ultra HD, as well as live TV. The only practical solution, according to Oetegenn, is to insert a layer between the underlying security mechanisms and the higher-level service related components. Through harmonized rights management, service providers can be shielded from the complexities of administering multiple security domains, and especially DRM management servers, from the overall subscriber rights management system in the operator’s head-end.

If there is no common DRM there can at least be a single rights management platform that will meet all content protection requirements and absorb changes in security schemes as they occur. 

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