The onset of over-the-top (OTT) networks, HTML5 and IP cable development is creating growth opportunities in conditional access (CAS) and DRM through disruption but security tech firms must change their traditional tacks to reap the reward, says analyst Frost & Sullivan.
It noted that overall, the nature of pay-TV is changing and content protection technologies must adapt to secure content and revenue wherever it is viewed and however it is delivered. It noted that consumer preferences are shifting from live-linear bouquets of channels toward OTT and television everywhere (TVE) just as consumer electronic (CE) devices are outselling set-top boxes (STBs) 10 to 1, and that cord-cutting continues to gather steam. Frost & Sullivan sees digital rights management (DRM) secure players and watermarking gaining wallet share, even as traditional CAS spending plateaus.
In its Global Content Protection Market, Forecast to 2021 report, Frost & Sullivan calculates that the market revenues will grow from nearly $1.7 billion in 2016 to almost $2 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4%.
The report also suggests that expansion of OTT and TVE services will increase expenditure on DRM, multi-DRM and secure player solutions, while upgrades to hybrid STBs combined with the imminent growth in 4K will drive demand for higher-end solutions. Frost & Sullivan adds that as cable networks are upgraded, content quality increases, as does support for interactivity which will likely mean that head-end upgrades will allow CAS switch-out, while STB upgrades drive unit sales.
Even though it sees several changes in technology and standards — including the exit of Flash and Smooth Streaming technologies, consolidation of HTML5/EME, and the advent of common media application format (CMAF) to bridge HTTP live streaming (HLS) and dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP (DASH) — addressing fragmentation on the DRM side, Frost & Sullivan cautions that issues remain in terms of support for legacy devices and varying options for packet-level encryption.
“The pay-TV market has morphed from being a controlled and predictable broadcast ecosystem to an evolving morass of fragmentation across devices, platforms, standards, technologies and interoperability,” said streaming media practice head and Global Content Protection Market, Forecast to 2021 report author Mukul Krishna. “Content protection vendors that can expand beyond client-based, hardware-dependent product lines to fully empower expanding pay-TV content services will see success. [They] must become a one-stop shop, developing in-house competency and establishing partnerships and reseller arrangements, to enable secure cross-platform, multi-screen delivery for operators. Truly agile vendors will think beyond pure security and seek to become comprehensive content protection and content monetisation partners.”