Most business leaders in the video streaming industry are busy formulating a robust marketing strategy for OTT platforms. In their pursuit to maximize profits, they tend to oversee the real profit guzzler — security. The massive upsurge in video streaming has created a highly competitive market but neglecting licensed content security could be fatal for any OTT business. Right now, the entertainment sector relies on the OTT platforms for most of its revenues. Video OTT Rights generate about 80% of the total revenues for movies, leaving just a tiny fraction generated from the satellite rights.
Nonetheless, OTT piracy sites have become a real menace for licensed content owners. Video OTT platforms lose up to 50% of revenues due to piracy, which sums up billions of dollars in losses. Thus, it is high time businesses realized that their OTT marketing strategy isn’t the only thing to focus on. Instead, it’s time to protect and safeguard their licensed data. Let us now discuss some surefire ways to prevent data theft which can be highly effective in curbing OTT piracy and related losses.
Execute updated software applications
Video OTT platforms use a plethora of tools for their daily business needs, including essential server-side tools to store and stream video files, cloud storage systems, browsers to access those, mail servers for communication, etc… Not to forget the CRMs, billing software, and access management applications to provide subscription-based access to their customers. With so many applications being used by the OTT platform, it is quite possible that some of those aren’t updated.
To create a secure ecosystem, it is essential to keep the Operating System and application up to date because, with each update, security patches are released by the developer. Although it sounds simple, seldom do businesses follow this simple yet effective security measure. Moreover, cybercriminals are well aware of this, which is justified because over 60% of security breaches occur due to unpatched software applications.
Use encryption and validation for better security
In the OTT landscape, unauthorized interception of data is one of the significant reasons for piracy. Also known as the Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attack, this form of cyberattack involves the illegal and unauthorized interception of in-transit files. So, the cybercriminal steals the content when it moves between the web server and the client, which is then used for illegal streaming.
Alternatively, the threat actor may intercept users’ login credentials and sell them at a lower price. Sometimes, this is done by creating a fake website that impersonates the licensed OTT website. In such cases, both unauthorized interceptions of data and impersonation attempts can be thwarted by installing the right SSL for your website and mail servers. It is always recommended that you choose an Organization Validated or an Extended Validation SSL certificate issued by a recognized Certificate Authority.
The OV and EV SSL are advanced certificates that require higher validation and come with a multitude of benefits. Although they cost a tad bit more than the standard SSL certificates, they offer better security and higher credibility. Their comprehensive validation confirms your organization’s authenticity and communicates the same to the end-user, thereby preventing fraudsters from impersonating your website. Plus, there is no need to worry about the certificate’s cost because there are many resellers available in market where you can find cheap SSL certificates with large number of certificates varieties.
Exercise Content Rights
Are you using Facebook or YouTube to broadcast videos or to stream live events? Saving a few bucks on video hosting tools can deprive you of your content rights. Both Facebook and YouTube are notorious for creating policies that transfer certain rights to them when their platform is used to transmit content. A quick and effective solution would be to use a paid white-label video hosting platform that lets you retain your rights over the content.
Exercise Control on the Number of Free Trials
For quite some time, free trials have turned out to be an effective OTT marketing strategy. Primarily because it allows potential customers to make an informed decision about your offering, but there are some risks associated with it. Many users dodge buying a premium subscription plan by using multiple fake email IDs. They do this to enjoy free trials for an extended period, which can be detrimental for any video OTT business. So, giving users subscription-based free trials can solve many concerns. You can also collect unique identifiers such as name and corresponding ID number from users by asking them to submit an official Photo ID. You can then maintain those details in a database and connect that to the access management tool to prevent repeated free trials.
Use Advanced DRM with forensic watermarking
For an OTT platform, the digital rights management (DRM) system is the nucleus of its IT ecosystem. It facilitates secure transmission and content monetization through many tools that work in tandem to ensure safe content delivery. However, while choosing a DRM, you need to look for specific features like the level of protection and coverage, storage measures, and forensic watermarking.
An ideal DRM would keep the content secure from the minute it is uploaded and continue to do so until the end-user consumes that video content. Speaking of forensic watermarks, it brings along three main benefits:
1. It prevents re-encoding, editing, and other similar attacks which are rampant in the OTT space.
2. Inserting an invisible watermark helps licensed video OTT platforms track down illegal content distribution and initiate necessary action.
3. Forensic watermarking cannot be tampered with.
Follow the industry’s standard practices to secure your OTT Platform
While you are combating piracy, please do not neglect your users’ privacy and make it a point to follow some of the industry’s best practices to protect personal and financial customer data. An effective way to do that is by using SSL encryption for all your domains, subdomains, and mail servers. Once you’ve done that, limit access to the cryptographic keys of the SSL certificates. You don’t want any of those being leaked by a disgruntled employee. Finally, the implementation of 2FA for payments and new device setups is a highly recommended practice.
Educate your audience: Piracy is wrong
License holders are aware of piracy and related legal implications, but not all viewers are. Thus, informing them about it and creating awareness can deter them from the wrong path. Most present-day viewers have a very casual attitude towards accessing pirated content. That is because they are unaware of what it can lead to. Informing viewers about the gravity of accessing pirated content and that too, in an engaging manner, can create awareness and help acquire new customers. Thus, making it a powerful marketing strategy for the video OTT platform.
Profit maximization can be done in many ways, and in the OTT landscape, the most constructive method is securing content and preventing piracy. In this article, we have discussed some time-tested security measures to empower OTT platforms against pirates. By following these simple and easy techniques, businesses can considerably retain control over licensed content and significantly increase their profit margins. After all, maximizing profits isn’t always about creating powerful OTT marketing strategies. Sometimes, protecting what is rightfully yours can go a long way.