Long reads


Q&A: Simon Trudelle, NAGRA

Simon Trudelle, senior director, product marketing, NAGRA, talks about cloud delivery, security threats from streaming, the attractions of Android TV and the role of AI in delivering advanced TV services

What additional threats does the cloud-based delivery of content raise and how can TV operators use cloud technology to secure their content?

There is no doubt that broadband ubiquity has invigorated the content industry and cloud-based delivery of content has opened up many opportunities for service providers and content owners.

In this environment, protecting content must be a top priority for any successful player in the TV ecosystem. Everyone from the Hollywood studios to live sports broadcasters to pay-TV service providers can now leverage the power of cloud technologies to distribute content securely over IP networks to consumers, while still meeting all rights holder requirements for premium content protection and countering the growing and varied number of piracy threats.

Our solutions like NAGRA cloud.SSP, a true cloud-based, multi-tenant security platform that scales and delivers the latest security technologies ‘as-a-service’ or the NAGRA Connect for TV which leverages our market-proven, converged CAS/DRM client embedded directly to TV manufacturer hardware, both provide sophisticated security management systems in the cloud. Combined with Anti-Piracy Services and forensic watermarking technologies, NAGRA is uniquely positioned to enable a comprehensive cloud-based content value protection strategy for service providers.

To what extent is the nature of the security threat facing content rightsholders changing and what impact has streaming piracy had on the business?

Streaming technologies have given content rights holders – and especially sports rights holders – more international reach than ever before but they have also opened the door to new forms of piracy such as IPTV or streaming piracy. We cannot underestimate the impact piracy is having on their business model.

Addressing the piracy challenge requires a multi-faceted approach, complete with new investments in smart access to content, user experience, monetization models, anti-piracy solutions, and forging closer partnerships with all stakeholders – including policy makers and governments – to communicate the impact of piracy effectively. NAGRA has extensive expertise in this domain and works closely with anti-piracy organisations worldwide, including IBCAP in the US, AVIA in Asia and Alianza in Latam to name a few.

What solutions are available and what role can forensic watermarking play in combatting new forms of piracy?

While CAS/DRM solutions are a means of ensuring that programming reaches the correct user at the correct time and on the correct device, these technologies offer little-to-no protection against the capture and redistribution of the content once video playback begins – this is where forensic watermarking comes in, allowing the creator or service operator to embed a unique serial number in the content as it is playing.

What’s more, forensic watermarking enables pay-TV service providers to acquire rights to exclusive, high-value content like 4K Ultra HD, and to better track and shut down illegal redistribution of exclusive linear content like live sports. NAGRA’s NexGuard watermarking supports the entire premium content lifecycle, with solutions for pre-release activities such as e-screening and file transcoding, as well as post-release and distribution workflows, ranging from digital cinema to channel contribution, pay-TV delivery and OTT streaming. Latest technology innovations include watermarking with very short detection time for pre-release content, as well as linear channel watermarking to enable broadcasters and sports rights owners to identify which affiliate’s distribution channel or licensee’s TV channel is most often the source of pirated content. For OTT streaming, we also offer both CDN and client-based solutions to address all key use cases.

What are the attractions of Android TV as a solution for TV operators and what do they need to do to make the most of this platform to engage subscribers?

Android TV is a friendly proposition, giving operators the opportunity to have an operator-tier branded UEX, Google TV services, direct carrier billing and more. The possibilities with Android TV are impressive, including faster time-to-market, easier access to third-party OTT, direct carrier billing, deep linking for additional search benefits, and advanced voice-driven technology – just to name a few. Having enabled multiple Android TV deployments since 2014, NAGRA knows that while there is a great opportunity, there are challenges that must be addressed, including the ability to create an engaging user experience that actively drives consumer loyalty and content monetisation and ensure any service built on the platform is secure, protecting both the content owners and consumers’ data, and finally deliver service-defining ingredients that make a compelling pay-TV service. With the right technologies in place, pay-TV operators can truly capitalise on the Android TV opportunity.

How can TV operators best make use of AI and data analytics to deliver high-value, secure personalised services?

There’s never been a more critical time for service providers to review their data and analytics strategies. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, data and AI can be game changers for pay-TV service providers, helping them deliver long-term business revenue and success, improving both the top and the bottom lines. While pay-TV service providers often sit on massive volumes of data, the challenge is really to break the internal silos and transform data into actionable intelligence leveraging AI and machine learning.

NAGRA helps pay-TV services providers make those smart business decisions with NAGRA Insight, our AI-driven, pay-TV data analytics platform. With the right approach in place – mainly focusing on dynamically using data to identify actions that have a business impact – the pay-TV industry is well positioned to leverage all it has to offer.