TV-specific content delivery network provider Edgeware is to employ bitstream-based digital piracy measures to allows content distributors to identify sources of illegally shared streams.

The company has integrated ContentArmor’s bitstream-based forensic watermarking solution into its TV CDN technology to insert information into the video bitstream in an intelligent way that makes it invisible to the viewer, yet, said the company, makes its robust enough to withstand video transformations such as recompression and cropping. That means, said Edgeware, that every stream can have a different code embedded at the edge of the network without any extra processing, resulting in each viewer having their own identifiable version of the content.

“Our integration with Edgeware’s TV CDN architecture demonstrates the key advantages of bitstream watermarking in Edge servers,” explained ContentArmor’s VP of sales and marketing, Eric Benetiere. “It allows content owners to put in place an anti-piracy measure that’s more efficient than other options, as it doesn’t require any additional versions of the show to be distributed through the CDN. It’s harder to erase and means content owners can quickly identify specific sources of illegally shared programmes.”

In an indication of the problem facing the industry, Edgeware quoted research from The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global coalition dedicated to protecting the legal market for content and reducing online piracy, revealing that in 2016 there were an estimated 5.4 billion downloads of pirated films and television shows worldwide.

“Content piracy existed long before TV and movies were available online. But selling pirated VHS tapes and DVDs on street corners was higher risk and cost more,” added Edgeware CMO Richard Brandon. “Now it’s relatively simple to re-stream live content as it’s transmitting. This ease of access to illegal content is why it’s so vital that watermarking solutions are integrated within delivery networks, especially if they’re purposely built for delivering TV.”