With the growing demand for VoD and OTT services, it is critical for content owners to safeguard their assets against leaks and unauthorised use. While producers and distributors have emphasised the importance of DRM protected content for security, digital watermarking techniques have acquired widespread recognition as an additional tool for deterring illicit streaming and mitigating harm as quickly as feasible. Watermarking enables the creation of a stream that is uniquely identifiable for each viewing session. Watermarking techniques can be broadly classified into three types: bitstream modification, A/B watermarking, and client-side watermarking.
Session-based watermarking enables unique content copies to be delivered to each individual user on any type of streaming player or device. Due to the fact that all streaming sessions originate at the CDN edge, video watermarking functions can be implemented on the edge server. Service providers employ a novel two-step watermarking technique in which a watermark is placed directly into the encoded bitstream and a unique identifier is used to send content copies to consumers.
The following are the critical solution aspects for anti-piracy measures when utilising an edge server:
- Watermark pre-processing: The video asset to be sent is first transcoded using adaptive bit-rate (ABR) technology. This enables the video to be inspected and spots within the video stream where adjustments can be made to encode a WMID identified (Watermark Identifier). The results of this study are encoded as metadata that will be packaged alongside the bitstream.
- The watermark token is delivered in the following manner: Prior to each viewing session, the user’s video player asks a WMID. A WMID is delivered as a JSON web token generated by the platform management subsystem of the content provider.
- Watermark ID embedding: When a video request is made, the edge server verifies the WMID token’s authenticity. Once the compliance tests return positive results, the requested ABR video is watermarked using the WMID contained in the token. The CDN then distributes pre-watermarked versions of the video in order to provide each client with a distinctively watermarked video stream.
This edge computing-based bitstream watermarking technology requires only a single version of the content, reducing storage and bandwidth requirements and consequently video lag. In the event of a leak, the watermark can be identified and retrieved in order to hunt down the source of the leak and take appropriate corrective action. It is much easier to insert and remove video watermarks using frame-based forensic watermarking techniques. Using just a few frames from the movie for extraction is also a big advantage for these tools. By securely embedding information that can be recovered in the case of a breach or leak, frame-based watermarking techniques can offer an additional degree of protection to DRM-protected content.
OTT platforms must be able to detect copyright violations quickly and efficiently in order to take action against violators within a specific timeframe. Premium content producers and distributors prefer SaaS solutions over on-premises implementations because of this.