What exactly is meant by the term DRM protection?

People are now watching a much greater amount of video on over-the-top (OTT) platforms than they did in the days before the advent of Covid.

The major Hollywood studios are producing original content that is tailored specifically for the viewing pleasure of OTT subscribers.

The income from over-the-top (OTT) services in North America reached USD 49 billion in 2020, according to a survey published by Digital TV Research; this number is expected to reach USD 94 billion by 2026. [1]

However, the dramatic increase in viewership and revenue brings with it the risk of revenue loss due to piracy, ineffective subscription management, shared passwords, a failure to optimise for device fragmentation, and unauthorised users making use of premium services.

The vast majority of OTT applications utilise digital rights management (DRM) technologies to fight piracy. One example of this is Google’s Widevine.

It should be stressed that DRM-protected content has more benefits than simply controlling piracy through file encryption, even though this is a well-established practise in the video-streaming industry to manage video assets by using a multi-DRM software as a service (SaaS).

In contrast to IPTV, which only offers channel-level DRM schemes, digital rights management (DRM) technology enables over-the-top (OTT) services to regulate more granular aspects of user management for individual video assets.

At this point in time, a video stream may come in the form of live broadcasts, downloading files, or video that may be played whenever the user chooses.

In addition, an OTT platform may provide numerous subscription options categorised according to various geographical areas or types of content.

OTT platforms are also aware of the processor-level protection provided by DRM technology providers, particularly Google, whose Widevine DRM technology enables applications to play UHD files while maintaining adequate control against piracy.

It makes it possible for over-the-top (OTT) platforms to maximise revenue streams by making their most lucrative plans available on Android-based mobile devices and smart TVs.

In recent years, over-the-top (OTT) services have begun providing users with the option to pay to see content.

This feature becomes popular just before major international sporting or entertainment-related events, such as the Oscars or Grammys, the World Cup of Soccer, etc., in which users prefer to sign up only for the event on the OTT platform that has obtained its broadcasting rights.

Examples of such events include the Oscars and the Grammys. This particular event is the only one for which the DRM technology’s capability to manage multiple users across many devices can restrict users’ access to video feeds.

The widespread use of over-the-top (OTT) services has drastically cut back on the common practise among users of purchasing digital copies of movies, documentaries, television shows, and other media.

Despite this, there is still a sizeable portion of customers who choose to download digital videos and keep their own copies rather than stream them. Even after users have paid for the videos, traditional sellers typically do not restrict their ability to download the content.

Additionally, over-the-top (OTT) platforms permit users to download videos for offline viewing, which means that users can watch films on any device they choose so long as their subscription is active.

By validating the encryption keys through the DRM server, the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology can be modified to restrict access to protected video downloads only to authorised users.

It is possible to draw the conclusion that the DRM technology enables OTT platforms and traditional platforms to maximise their respective income streams by providing premium content with the advantages of both cloud-based streaming and offline playbacks.