Underestimate the cost and complexity and business opportunity of DRM at your peril, warns Steve Oetegenn, president, Verimatrix

DRM has emerged as a critical component of online video services, not just for protecting premium content, but also underlining various business models and unlocking the potential of monetization.

Unfortunately, it is also one aspect of online services that can increase complexity and potentially increases costs. A study by Frost & Sullivan found that most operators were significantly underestimating these complexities and costs with the risk of missing out on potential revenue streams.

D3 op veritmatrix pix

D3 op veritmatrix pix

To help service providers better understand these challenges, this study identified the five key factors that contribute to the total cost of ownership of a complete multi-DRM ecosystem.

The fallacy that DRM is free. This false notion is based on the license for the core software that manages license formatting and key exchange, which is sometimes inexpensive or even bundled for free.

But in these cases, the client still has to manage the full range of authentication, entitlement checks, permissions enforcement, device integrity verification and other functions.

Therefore, the cost of developing and maintaining a portfolio of secure clients must be taken into account.

Continuous fragmentation. Without a doubt, there is increasing fragmentation in devices and platforms.

Yet, it is essential that service providers deliver a high-quality experience across all these devices. When billions of people use various devices to stream many types of media, the optimum protection strategy needs to be applied to each device, also known as DRM core logic.

Different DRM core logic must be supported if the target device platform offers no download option, adding to the overall complexity of management.

Consistent viewer experience. There is a need for a consistent approach to security across this fragmented multi-DRM world.

Each DRM utilises a different rights language, which means expertise is necessary to ensure that a given set of rights is executed in the same way across all the DRMs.

This is necessary to ensure that the end-user experience on all corresponding devices and browsers is consistent.

DRM is a program, not a project. A DRM system is not a one-off project, but rather an ongoing program that must keep abreast of emerging platforms and the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Indeed, breach management and renewability is the most crucial aspect of the entire DRM implementation.

The cost of ongoing DRM management and improvement is arguably the most important aspect of TCO estimation and yet one which is most often overlooked.

Show me the money. Frost & Sullivan sees DRM not simply as an anti-piracy solution, but as a business-enabling monetisation technology.

This monetisation layer needs to be capable of scaling and adapting with the same ease as the OTT ecosystem; just as quickly and cost effectively.