What is DRM?

The rise of the internet has revolutionized the broadcast industry. The days of a fixed program schedule delivered through a small number of terrestrial TV stations are long gone. Instead, viewers have access to over-the-top (OTT) and video-on-demand services (VOD) and have become their own program schedulers, with a vast array of content at their fingertips.

In other words, today’s consumers can view what they want, when they want, and how they want.

There is no shortage of services striving to meet this insatiable demand. Billions of pieces of new content are generated annually, and people around the world are spending tens of millions of hours watching old TV shows and movies, downloading software, and streaming music.

Unsurprisingly, people are harnessing ubiquitous access to content to consume media at a rapid rate. Globally, the average person draws on at least 12 paid media subscriptions to consume more than 7.5 hours of media every day.

While this content landscape has enabled exponential growth for media companies and content creators, many are also increasingly challenged to find ways to protect their online assets. Collectively, there are immense consequences of inaction. It’s estimated that 20 percent of potential video revenue is lost to online piracy, and the music industry loses nearly $3 billion annually when assets are illegally shared and distributed.

These losses impact major corporations and entrepreneurial creators. Revenue lost to online piracy impacts more than 70,000 jobs while making it more difficult for small creators to monetize their efforts effectively.

Fortunately, content producers and distributors are not powerless to protect their digital assets. Fast-developing capabilities detection technologies present many opportunities to outsmart the pirates. Specifically, Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions can help protect digital assets from theft, illegal distribution, and misuse.

How Does DRM Work?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions are designed to place a barrier that stops digital content from being stolen in the first place, including copy protection and permission management solutions.

DRM solutions were created specifically to help control the sharing of marketable digital assets. Controlling and policing the sharing of these files once they’ve been copied is almost impossible, so DRM technology places the emphasis on stopping these assets from being stolen in the first place.

For example, DRM solutions can prevent consumers from:

  • Editing or saving content
  • Sharing or forwarding content
  • Printing or distributing content
  • Maintaining access after pre-determined expiration dates

At the same time, when IP geolocation data is deployed, DRM solutions can help restrict content access to certain IP addresses, geographic regions, or domains.

For creatives, producers, and broadcasters, DRM solutions are a critical tool for maintaining content exclusivity and preventing unlawful distribution, which drives revenue and helps digital assets retain their value both now and in the future.

Why is DRM Important?

In a digital-first media environment, DRM solutions offer creators, content producers, distributors, and broadcasters several benefits.

Revenue Protection

The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that online piracy accounts for nearly 30 billion movie streams and 127 billion tv show views, collectively costing 230,000 jobs and $29.2 billion in lost revenue. To be sure, this problem isn’t relegated just to streaming media. US publishers are losing $300 million each year to ebook piracy, robbing authors, publishers and creative teams of valuable resources to continue their work with excellence.

User Education

Copyright laws are rarely top of mind for consumers who are looking to access and share content they love. DRM solutions teach consumers what they can and cannot do with digital assets.

Income Enhancement

Once legitimate users have been identified, IP addresses can then be used to deliver more targeted advertising, which not only bolsters ad revenues (and therefore broadcaster-advertiser relations), but further enhances the viewing experience, keeping loyal subscribers coming back for more.

Privacy Protection

DRM solutions prevent unauthorized users from accessing privileged information. Businesses can leverage DRM solutions to protect sensitive documents, confidential data, and other private information, preventing them from being altered, saved, copied, or distributed.

Optimized Content Experiences

Accurate IP-derived connection speed data helps ensure streaming content is optimized for the viewing platform and aids in eliminating the technical problems associated with delivering video or music over a range of devices and connectivity types.

Intelligently Manage Web Traffic & Localize Content

Content providers often cater to global audiences when delivering streaming, news, ecommerce and gaming services. This makes tailoring content to specific locations crucial for delivering the best web experiences for their users.

Being able to feed IP intelligence into content delivery operations means you can offer personalized, location-specific content experiences while managing global web traffic levels intelligently. Granular, location-based control over content delivery enables content localization, enhanced analytics and the ability to manage access and digital rights in line with national regulations and traffic patterns.

What Does DRM Protected Mean?

Geolocation and IP intelligence data offers content creators and distributors real-time information about users’ geographic locations and connection characteristics, allowing companies of any size to successfully remove the anonymity barriers unique to the internet—protecting their online assets and reputations while preserving the customer experience. The benefits are multifaceted and far-reaching, including:

Improving Control

Manage access to digital content based on licensing agreements at the country, state/region, city and even ZIP or postcode level.

Increasing Flexibility

Adapt and respond quickly to constantly changing rules for content management and distribution.

Advanced Proxy Detection

Identify those deliberately trying to mask their location by using proxies or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Broadcasters need to utilize premium IP solutions to ensure they are not falling foul of nefarious methods of internet access.

Enforcing Restrictions

Ensure users in prohibited or embargoed areas are restricted from accessing your digital assets.

Ensuring Compliance

Comply with license and copyright agreements made with licensors by allowing access to content based on authenticated, real-time user geographic location. IP data is vital for content providers to comply with digital rights licenses, either at a country or regional level. Yet, many are using poor approaches that restrict users who should be able to view content, while allowing access to those who should not. The deployment of accurate IP Intelligence and geolocation technology negates this issue because it accurately identifies the user’s location. Working with less accurate data providers can create false restrictions, leading to disgruntled consumers.

Today’s digital-first content landscape presents some interesting challenges for broadcasters and content creators. As people are watching more content on multiple devices while on the move, broadcasters have to be mindful of compliance with licensing, copyright agreements and cultural differences. Broadcasters need the ability to grant access where viewing is permissible and restrict access where it is not, all while making the end user experience as seamless as possible.

DRM with Digital Element 

Companies are finding that controlling the distribution of content online is often a difficult task, whether it’s ensuring that assets are accessed only where permitted by licensing and copyright agreements or by restricting downloads in certain geographic locations for encryption software or other use cases. However, with a strong digital rights management strategy, companies can secure content against unauthorized access.

In a market where legislation and rights can rapidly change, the serving of content to the right user is far from simple. And, the consequences for not protecting assets can adversely affect revenues, produce cost penalties for non-compliance, and damage a brand’s reputation for blocking access when it should be allowed.

By leveraging Digital Element’s global IP geolocation data within content distribution and digital rights platforms, content owners have the information needed to allow legal downloads where licensing and copyright agreements are in place—and to restrict downloads where it is illegal.

Before companies jump into the online content publishing arena, they should fully understand the issues and growing concerns in regard to securing and distributing digital assets, many of which involve managing digital rights across a medium that transcends worldwide geographic boundaries. Trying to secure online content distribution and comply with licensing and copyright agreements can be a formidable undertaking.

Fortunately, businesses don’t have to go it alone. Digital Element is ready to help your organization maintain the rights and monetary rewards of its valuable digital assets.

Ready to discuss your use case with one of our experts?

Contact Sales