Synamedia security updates get educational flavor

Synamedia will be looking to take advantage of the IBC limelight after Nagra’s mysterious Project Radar product launch was pushed back, as the Cisco spinout this week revealed a number of new security features set to be showcased for the first time in Amsterdam.

Whenever a piracy debate arises, we have so often implored that education is arguably as important as the security layer itself and Synamedia has taken a leaf from this book with its new Streaming Piracy Disruption managed service – featuring a single workflow across both broadcast and IP streaming. Customers of the Infinite Video Platform can now attempt to convert viewers of pirated content to legitimate subscribers by switching out takedown warnings with notices encouraging sign up.

MD of consultancy firm Piracy Monitor, Steve Hawley, summarized this sentiment well, “Often, consumers are unaware of what constitutes an infringement, and will see their video provider in a much more positive light if offered the carrot of a legal alternative, rather than a stick in the form of a shutdown.” We’d love to know the proportion of viewers who actually sign up and result in new revenue streams through this very method, suspecting it would be pretty low, although hopefully Synamedia will provide some insights once the ball gets rolling.

Educating viewers who may otherwise be unaware of the illicit nature of their activities is one route to solving the wider piracy problem but plenty of work remains if the pirates are to be tracked and taken down at the source.

We were prepared for Synamedia to deliver an operational security (opsec) update of sorts and the vendor has now delivered by claiming to differentiate from other analytics services that only use standard website crawling techniques. To this end, Synamedia’s forensics lab has cultivated an unorthodox combination of engineers, intelligence analysts and cyber investigators alongside psychology and criminology experts. The aim of this mixed team is to offer deeper intelligence about piracy, providing customers with an analysis of nature and scale of the problem as well as the impact of anti-piracy – with a focus on reverse engineering. Of course, sometimes ingredients just don’t mix as planned.

Synamedia has singled out security and revenue protection as early targets for product development and has already launched its Credentials Sharing Insight software to help streaming providers address account sharing between friends and families by turning a growing source of loss into a new revenue-generating opportunity. The idea is to detect such sharing activity so that operators can exert gentle pressure to convert this into multiple accounts with some enticement offered. This fits with the philosophy of Synamedia Chairman Abe Peled that pay TV security is about making it inconvenient for people who can afford to pay for content to resort to piracy.

New Credentials Sharing Insight functionalities will be showcased at IBC to help streaming providers combat for-profit illegal password sharing and also drive incremental revenues from casual account sharing. It says anti-piracy R&D investments will bear fruit for the first time at IBC, calling on the entire technology value chain to collaborate with rights holders and content owners to improve the detection and purge of piracy.

IBC 2019 will signify a milestone year since Synamedia, along with fellow offspring of giants MediaKind and Velocix, of which the Cisco progeny has been the most active of the bunch in pre-IBC PR. Prior to this week’s security update, it teased a revamped video network portfolio and new range of carrier-class delivery engines for its CDN infrastructure. The release is vague as you’d expect from a company holding back the big guns for the main event, outlining a “broadened portfolio” basically across the board, but what stands out is the addition to its video network portfolio of a DCM/vDCM support for Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) with Remote PHY, which we know will be another hot topic at IBC along with content piracy and Android TV.

On that note, Synamedia will also highlight deployments on RDK, Android TV and Synamedia Evo at IBC, having pre-integrated its security software into set tops from Android TV ecosystem partners including Sagemcom and Arris.