Video piracy is still rife. A large proportion of the current generation of telly watchers are happy to download pirated content, despite knowing it is wrong to do so.
In fact, the ease of downloading premium content for free on the internet means that the figures concerning online copyright infringement are staggering. In the UK alone, the Government's Intellectual Property Office's July 2018 report found that 15% of UK Internet users aged 12+ (6.525 million people) had downloaded at least one item of “illegal” online content.
Of that, the highest levels of infringement for all internet users was recorded for TV shows (23%) and sports content (21%).
With these numbers in mind, it has never been more important to protect your premium content from potential pirates. How you distribute content is key. YouTube videos can be downloaded using third-party software; while traditional media screener DVDs can get lost or stolen.
Ideally, you need a solution that securely hosts your content online; a solution that enables you to see who has viewed your content and when; a solution that lets you easily give people instant access and lets you remove that access just as fast. This solution should also let viewers/buyers enjoy high-resolution content in a distraction-free, branded environment.
The problems with physical video distribution
If you are still distributing content using hardware or physical media, this kind of protection is nigh on impossible. Even protected hard drives, USB sticks or discs can be passed on, accidentally or intentionally, to those who are willing to put a copy on the internet. Worse still, there is no way to track who has watched video distributed in this way or what happens to the content afterwards.
Ideally, you need to have visibility over who has access to your content. Should a leak happen, you need to be able to identify where it came from, thereby preventing those people from getting access again.
Illegal download and streaming sites get their media from many different sources, from capturing footage by secretly filming in cinemas to ripping it from physical media. Many pirate sites even show you where its listed pirated material comes from, tagging it 'Cam' or 'Telesync' for cinema capture to 'DVDSCR' for that taken from a DVD or hardware source.
Switch your content distribution
Ripping content from physical media is typically the source for the most-watched pirated material, generally because it is from a pre-release 'screener'. This is content sent to content buyers, film critics or judges before general release. Consequently, by removing the distribution of physical versions of your premium content, you can plug any potential piracy gaps.
The answer is to move your content distribution online, by using a secure Video Management and Distribution system to allow your buyers or reviewers access to high-resolution versions of your content. Not only can you give potential buyers access to instantly preview your content, but you can control who has access to what, and for how long. Downloads and purchases can even be restricted, based on who’s looking - and from where, what the content is, and what access permissions you’ve granted the viewer.
Data is key. With a Video Management and Distribution system, you also get data showing you who interacts with your content most, potentially informing future decisions on what content to make and who to target it to. No longer are the viewers of your content anonymous, you know exactly who has had access to or downloaded your content. You can also, should the worst happen, instantly switch off access to people you suspect of distributing those downloads.
Now you see it, now you don’t
What's more, with an advanced Video Management and Distribution platform like Imagen, you can deliver files with a built-in expiry time, digitally signing and dynamically updating links to the media every six hours, which prevents unscrupulous users from uncovering and publishing the URL of the media object from the source code.
Other barriers to modern piracy can be utilised too, like blocking people from certain territories from viewing the media and automatically adding watermarks to media that has yet to be purchased or licensed.
Although there is no way to completely protect video assets from potential pirates, a Video Management and Distribution platform makes it as hard as possible for them to get their hands on it.
Major brands trust Imagen's online media asset system to protect the content they want to preserve, sell and distribute. So, ask yourself this: do you know everyone who might have access to your content? If the answer is ‘no’, maybe it's time you found a solution that will let you take control of just that.
You can find out more about the advantages of using a Video Management and Distribution system by downloading our white paper entitled: "The Future of Premium Video Distribution" below.