Digital TV Europe: Tor Helge Kristiansen, EVP principal architect, Conax, talks about revenue protection, the rise of OTT TV and providing content security

(Link to DTVE’s digital March 2017 edition. Conax on page 15)

- Tor Helge Kristiansen, EVP Principal Architect, Conax

How can content security solutions help deliver positive revenue benefits to TV operators as well as protecting their content?

Comprehensive content protection security is still the most important element in ensuring healthy revenue streams for pay-TV operators. The ability to collect payment from consumers accessing services and eliminating non-paying consumers’ access to content or service is vital. To satisfy the growing demands of content and device-savvy consumers, the availability of good platform DRM clients limits the necessary investment on the device side; however it is increasingly important to invest in strong, scalable security back-end solutions to cope with the complexity of addressing multiple devices with multiple DRM options. There are an increasing number of secure and flexible solutions available from experienced security providers such as Conax that enable operators of varying levels of resources to start a secure and more advanced services operation and simultaneously satisfy the growing demands of your content and device-savvy consumers.

How can developments in content security such as the use of cloud-based technology help service providers deliver their business goals? What impact is the use of the cloud having on content security in general?

Today’s operators need to embrace a competitive business model that provides flexible consumer services, while securing valuable content revenue base. Cloud-based technologies and services are aimed at providing operators with a sustainable growth model through low CAPEX and outsourced operations, while at the same time providing the ultimate flexibility in trying out new service offerings and business models. Thus, cloud or serviced-based offerings (SaaS) are becoming increasingly interesting for pay-TV operations for a variety of platform functions as they offer reduce cost base and competence, making it easier to stay competitive in a highly competitive marketplace.
The cloud is providing a positive impact on content security, enabling operators to outsource security competence, reduce hardware and provide rapid launch of new features and upgrades.

What impact is the extension of TV operators’ services towards OTT services and multiscreen app-based delivery having on their content security requirements?

As open consumer devices are increasingly vertically integrated into vendor ecosystems, they also come with pre-embedded platform DRMs such as Widevine, PlayReady and FairPlay Streaming. Deeply integrated into the devices with decent security levels, they provide operators with a good means for securely delivering OTT content to these devices. It does however force operators into using multiple DRM systems in their back-end systems, creating significant complexity in the overall security management of the system when ensuring customers are able to view content in and out of the home.
When using platform DRMs, the operator has little to no control of the security level of each device being used and platform DRM options differ in terms of the business features offered making it harder for operators to set up consistent service across a multitude of devices. Since the number of attack points in these complex ecosystems is increasing, it is very important to invest in a security solution that ensures holistic protection of the both the content and the service.

What specific content security requirements to service providers in emerging markets such as India and Latin America have and what types of solution are best suited to their needs?

There are different kinds of threats to content and piracy in different regions. The biggest security challenge for pay-TV service providers in emerging markets is the sharing of cards and content keys. In regions that are predominantly satellite there will be higher security exposure than other networks. It is also interconnected, making it more likely that if a hacker breaches one region then they will also get access to the rest of the continent.
At Conax we emphasize the importance of working with a strong security partner that can help operators secure the entire value chain by the use of separation technology, security evaluations, security audits, anti-piracy services and security guidance for device vendors. Operators should be aware of the various attacks on STBs and aim at building very strong security architecture by researching and utilizing new security mechanisms and securing all available devices.

To what extent are TV service providers looking to service-based offerings from content security providers and what impact does this have on their business and on Conax?

Serviced-based offerings are becoming increasingly interesting for pay-TV operations for a variety of platform technologies. Off-site services for technologies outside an operators’ key competence enable reduced operational complexity, hardware and cost base necessary to stay competitive in the broadcast and OTT arenas.

For Conax, this transition is a key part of our strategy. In 2016, we deployed the Contego-as-a-Service (CaaS) cloud-based service platform, positioning Conax to tap additional growth in the global market while continuing our focus on providing out-of-the box, lean, flexible and scalable solutions. Our aim is offering a highly secure service – hosted, monitored and maintained by Conax – that supports DVB, IPTV and OTT content delivery, all major DRM technologies, and premium 4K and UHD content. We are providing pay-TV operators with a sustainable growth model through low CAPEX, reduced complexity and fast-time-to-market for launching new features.