Protecting Your Content with DRM

Nov 18, 2020


Quality content is an investment from production to distribution, which is precisely why it’s imperative to fully understand and utilize your video security options.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology is key to reducing unauthorized access and distribution of premium content. This blog post aims to provide an overview of the benefits of implementing a DRM solution, and how it works to strengthen your video streaming. Additionally, we cover video security alternatives in order to help you to determine the protection measures that best fit your use case.

Why DRM Is Necessary to Secure Premium Content

At its core, DRM technologies empower content owners and distributors to set and enforce content consumption policies. Maximizing security for your studio-grade content is a necessary measure to protect ad, subscription and box-office revenue from digital piracy and unauthorized viewership.

DRM is most often used to fortify Hollywood content against duplication. For distributors of premium content, such as broadcasters and TV/film marketplaces, enabling DRM has become a common requirement for acquiring content. Film and TV studios, among other content creators, typically mandate protection by specific DRM policies. To gain licensing rights to top-shelf titles in the first place, distributors need to ensure that their streaming service is compatible with the desired DRM technologies. 

Outside of Hollywood, enterprise, education and fitness companies serving up subscription-based, premium content are emerging as DRM enthusiasts as well. Doing so is a big step in delivering and growing subscription value.

DRM Decrypted: How Does It Work?

DRM technologies work by encrypting individual video assets with media keys during the transcoding process. These videos are packaged and transmitted in their encrypted form, which can then only be unlocked by approved viewing devices. In order to play back the protected content, the video player will ask for a decryption key from the license server, at which point the device’s authorization will be validated. Once the key is obtained, the player can then play back the video in its decrypted form.

There are three major DRM technologies for online video:

1. FairPlay by Apple: supports content playback in all Apple devices.
2. PlayReady by Microsoft: supports content playback in all major smart TV’s, Windows native apps, MS Edge, XBox, PlayStation, AndroidTV, and Chromecast.
3. Widevine by Google: supports content playback from Android mobile and TV, Chrome, Roku, FireTV, Firebox, Opera, and Chromecast.

Enabling all three facilitates coverage across the majority of platforms, browsers, and devices.

Rights Management at JW Player: How do we support DRM?

For those needing robust DRM support, JW Player’s compatibility with Fairplay, Widevine, and PlayReady ensures reduced video workflows, comprehensive platform coverage, and pre-configured policies that can be customized to your audience needs. 

Adding DRM within your streaming platform means that premium content protection no longer requires extra steps and vendors for your team – all of your video workflows are now centralized in JW Player, from upload to playback.

Learn more about the benefits of implementing DRM within JW Stream.

What If DRM Isn’t Right For My Content?

Outside of shielding enterprise and Hollywood-grade content from bad actors (no pun intended), the cost of DRM often outweighs its unique, niche benefits. Alternative content protection mechanisms will cover most video security needs.

HLS Encryption: encrypting streams using HLS encryption will protect your content delivery by preventing the ripping of those streams in transport. This is a great solution for news publishers, online education, and ad-supported OTT services.

Geo-blocking: authorizes video viewing based on the user’s geographical location. Often used by sports publishers, gaming companies, and premium OTT providers to manage entitlements based on geography.

URL token signing: a type of playback authorization to enforce a limited time to request a resource. OTT services, lifestyle publishers, and news publishers with paywalls utilize URL token signing effectively.

Content protection options in JW Player facilitate seamless viewing experiences for your audience while securing your content and keeping your team efficient. As we provide robust safeguards from upload to playback, you can focus on creating and distributing content without worrying about tackling security too. The modern security standards at JW Player are also scalable to your business- we’ll work with you to ensure that your security measures are optimized for your audience and content needs.

Contact Us to learn which content protection measures are right for you.