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Despite the Storm Clouds, IBC 2023 Had Energy, Direction and Pace


There seemed to be much trepidation ahead of this year's IBC. Would the Schiphol fiasco and train strike that blighted the escape from the RAI in 2022 be a problem this year too? Even the IBC organizers seemed a little panicked with their emails urging visitors to sign-up landing into inboxes much earlier than in previous years. It was a relief all round then that getting to IBC was uneventful and the focus was once again on an industry undergoing a period of intense change.

The 2023 NAGRA show theme was Navigate the Disruption - and it proved to be spot on. Visitors to the NAGRA booth - all very aware of the impact of a fragmented content landscape and downward pressure on revenues and ARPU - wanted to learn more about routes through the disruption that met challenges head-on and realized new opportunities.

As part of our theme, we focused on two routes of discussion - Post-Production and Beyond Video. Our routes converged on Fighting Piracy and concluded with an area that saw much animated discussion: The New Digital Economy.

The Need for Security in Production & Post-Production

The fragmentation of the content landscape has led to an explosion of content being created. Writer and actor strikes aside (the former now seemingly solved), the changes in distribution approaches for production and post-production mean more and more post houses are distributing screeners and production dailies through closed OTT streaming services. While the actual streaming services may be closed, the fact that content is distributed over OTT means that it is exposed to the same surface attack area as consumer-focused streaming services. Consequently, there is an increased need for security to protect valuable assets from being intercepted either during or at the end of the production process. Our announcements before IBC illustrated this and included how French post house Dubbing Brothers are securing their screener streaming service with multi-DRM. In addition, and in response to an industry needing to strengthen security, we also announced that collaboration workflow solutions Adobe and Sony CI Media Cloud have also integrated NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking into their solutions, joining Avid MediaComposer, PIX and Qtake who already offer NexGuard forensic watermarking.

Disruptive Approaches to Content Distribution

Just before IBC, NAGRA was proud to announce a new agreement that sees NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking integrated with market disruptor Eluvio. Offering a decentralized content delivery platform, the Eluvio Content Fabric approach dispenses with the traditional CDN approach and uses blockchain-controlled trustless, verifiable, and tamper proof content security capabilities that prove, protect, and secure low-latency content distribution from its source to audiences.

NAGRA, NexGuard Streaming OTT forensic watermarking can be applied automatically and dynamically to each output stream and tied to the individual recipient. All authorizations and accounting of a contents lifecycle-from audience reporting to rights management to version history-are realized directly in the Eluvio Content Fabric, recorded in its ledger, provable, and tamper free.

In addition, joining NAGRA on the stand was 2G Digital Post, a Burbank-based post house that uses NexGuard forensic watermarking as part of a new, AI-powered solution that helps to address the challenges associated with scaling localization and distribution services. This is particularly pertinent for an industry needing to localize increasing volumes of content through processes which typically include distribution to several third parties - which increases the risk of content leaks.

Beyond Video and the Set-Top Box

The gradual whittling down of permissible video slates available to video service operators through carriage deals or similar - as was evidenced recently by the Disney+/ Charter standoff resolved just before IBC, has resulted in a need to consider a wider range of services that extend beyond video. NAGRA demonstrated this at IBC through its OpenTV Video Platform which showed how a range of media and entertainment services can be aggregated to provide a media-rich proposition that extends beyond video to gaming, shopping and other lifestyle services.

This service aggregation' approach is expanding the industry narrative beyond content aggregation which has been widely adopted thus far. While the premise is the same - to provide a digital experience that delivers value and monetizes the experience, the service aggregation approach also supports connected digital lifestyles. With new business models and customer experiences underpinned by AI-powered behaviour-based analytics, this fresh approach enables operators to re-engage with disaffected consumers who have tried to navigate fragmented solutions alone.

In addition, as operators look to optimize their cost-to-serve, conversations start to consider a world beyond the set-top box. To support this, NAGRA featured TVkey Cloud, a joint Samsung and NAGRA initiative that is designed to reduce cost and extend reach by enabling a secure, operator-branded app that persists in the prime position on a connected TVs home screen.

Fighting Piracy

Common to both routes on the NAGRA stand was how to tackle piracy. Here we demonstrated our anti-piracy intelligence solution which allows the user to select domains of interest and then explore the ecosystem in which they operate. This includes associated domains, domain registrants and other information that is critical to building a successful civil or criminal case. Joined by solution partner, Kineton, who demonstrated their webcrawler solution integrated with NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking, the team also showed how to proactively search the web for illicit content residing on pirate sites.

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