Perspectives from PLAY: Securing Premium Content: DRM and TV Everywhere Authorization

“It’s kind of the wild west,” noted Adobe’s Barry Hartman in characterizing the challenge of supporting DRM and optimized viewing experiences across a fragmented landscape of connected devices. Hartman was speaking on the Brightcove PLAY 2011 panel, “Securing Premium Content: DRM and TV Everywhere Authorization,” which was moderated by Brightcove’s Eric Elia and also included presenters from Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks), VideoNuze, and Brightcove (the panel discussion can be seen in the video below).

According to AMC Networks' David Evans, the TV Everywhere environment is finally affording the opportunity to reach customers in many different places, while there is a great deal taking place behind the scenes to make it easy from a consumer perspective. Evans and his fellow speakers noted that significant progress continues to be made toward realizing wider deployment of TV Everywhere and multi-screen viewing services that work across connected TVs, Blu-ray players, iPhones, iPads, and Android smartphones and tablets.

“TV Everywhere is unlocking content that has traditionally been locked to the set-top box,” said Will Richmond of VideoNuze, explaining that consumer expectations are now such that on-demand and linear video can be watched on nearly any connected device both inside and outside the home. “Pay TV is pursuing that vision.”

Adobe’s Hartman noted that those distributing the video have to answer to both the content owners and consumers when it comes to DRM. “I have to promise the content owner that I will protect their content from being pirated,” he said while emphasizing that this also protects the business of the distributor. “From a consumer perspective, it [DRM] just needs to disappear and not be noticeable.” Hartman said that a paywall, log-in or ad is acceptable, but consumers won’t tolerate seeing DRM.

As as network operator, Evans said AMC Networks is thinking most about smart TV platforms while envisioning the second screen, such as iPad, as a complement the big-screen viewing experience. Whether that content is being consumed through a cable operator’s TV Everywhere service or an AMC Network portal, Evans said those experiences will continue to take place in authenticated environments where a cable subscription is required to watch the content.

Ashraf AlKarmi from Brightcove stressed that the entire process needs to be simple and without plug-ins, with everything taking place in the background. “It’s still a challenge to reach all of these devices in a cost-effective way, and it’s up to us in the industry to work on this.”

Brightcove PLAY 2012 promises to expand on the discussions of DRM and TV Everywhere that occurred during last year’s sold-out conference. Taking place June 25-27 at the InterContinental Boston Hotel, PLAY 2012 is drawing Brightcove customers, partners, and digital media experts from around the world for three action-packed days of hands-on learning, in-depth strategy sessions, next-generation product demos, all-star keynotes, and networking.

For more information and to register for Brightcove PLAY 2012, visit