Why multi-channel monitoring at scale is key in preventing content fraud

Following on from our recent blog that explored how to use monitoring to stop content fraud, we’re now delving into why it’s important to have real-time, multichannel monitoring in place, and why it’s key that this solution can expand at scale. 

Monitoring for stolen content ensures that a business is aware of the scale of piracy of its content, and helps inform the enforcement measures in place to stop it. Though monitoring is an upfront investment, the part it plays in converting some viewers of illegal content to legitimate subscribers means that it can become a significant source of revenue. 

It’s important that any monitoring solution used to protect content for broadcasters, operators or rights holders has the ability to scale globally, covers all content sources, is well established and has a track record of measurable disruption of piracy. There are a number of different factors that differentiate monitoring services, the solutions they offer, and their effectiveness, so, we’ve listed a few questions for you to ask, to help identify a vendor that can help you achieve genuine results. 

Does your vendor have truly global coverage?

Content fraud is an offence that has no borders. Modern distribution allows pirates to spread stolen content in high quality far and wide, beyond any geographical restrictions imposed by the content licensing agreements adhered to by legitimate broadcasters. Hence, a content monitoring service needs to cover multiple territories across the globe. If your valuable live sports content is leaked by your distribution partner or a subscriber located in, say, Latin America, the same content is sure to appear in other territories very quickly: viewers of fraudulent content often don’t mind commentary in a different language if it means cheaper access to sports.

A content fraud detection and takedown service needs to be geared appropriately to have that global reach. High scalability and rapid response require a combination of resources, including automated detection services augmented by human teams, operating 24x7x365 from central and local operations bases. With the correct technology, teams and processes in place, a vendor is able to locate instances of stolen content quickly, wherever they appear, and subsequently enact the appropriate enforcement and notification as agreed with the customer.   

Moreover, having a content protection vendor operating on a global scale will ensure that your expansion into new territories is already supported from a content security perspective, both in terms of scale and specifics of regional piracy (metadata localisation and transcreation, monitoring methodology and capabilities, etc.).

Does your vendor cover all impactful sources of content fraud?

Financially damaging content fraud comes in all shapes and sizes. While illegal restreaming on the open web is one of the most prevalent, revenue is lost to other types of piracy too. It could come in the form of social media, from a paywalled pirate IPTV service, on a mobile app, through plug-ins or through streaming services. It’s key to select a vendor that is able to provide you with a depth of knowledge and understanding of the piracy landscape, and how it impacts your business. If your business is suffering revenue losses due to your content being redistributed illegally across multiple channels, make sure that your security vendor provides references of having detected and taken down piracy across all of them.

Is your vendor an established partner with the major social media platforms?

Since its inception, social media misuse has been one of the major concerns of content owners and rights holders. There are a few factors that contribute to the complexity and scale of the problem but the main ones are the popularity of these platforms and the simplicity of sharing video content. While the quality of the content shared on many social media platforms is usually low, it still poses a threat to content owners – if it’s the right content, illegal viewers will often be happy to take a resolution hit. The issue is further exacerbated by the existence of non-compliant platforms, those that are not as stringent in their tracking and enforcement against illegal content.

It goes without saying that any unauthorised content that is shared on the biggest and most popular social media platforms is likely to be seen by the largest number of eyeballs and therefore has the greatest impact on the value of your content. Many of these platforms have their own rights management solutions (e.g. Facebook’s Right Manager, YouTube’s Content ID, etc.) so it’s worth checking that your vendor operates a compliance programme with social media platforms to ensure that takedowns are swift. It’s also worth asking your vendor if they have developed relationships and established enforcement processes with popular regional social media platforms.

Can your vendor secure the largest and most popular live events?

If you create or licence live content you’ll have a deep understanding of the staggering complexity of setting up coverage and distribution of a sporting competition, a music or film festival, a global premier, etc. The nature of these events means that platforms have to be able to handle huge spikes in demand, and quality of experience is paramount. Any security technology deployed to protect this content needs to work well in harmony with other deployed solutions and be just as rapidly scalable.

In order for a monitoring service to be effective in protecting live content at scale, it needs to be highly automated. A content monitoring platform can automatically capture thousands of suspect streams simultaneously, which equates to terabytes of data every few minutes. Automated fingerprinting technology can be used to identify and match great quantities of captured streams to swiftly and accurately pinpoint those that are illegal redistributions.

One of the advantages of fingerprinting is that this technology is extremely lightweight – fingerprinting services operate in the cloud, and the fingerprints that are captured are typically just a few kilobytes, representing several gigabytes of video. Even this small sample size allows the technology to identify a video accurately: hence the term fingerprinting – just like in forensic police work, the probability of fingerprints of two different videos being the same is low enough to be negligible.

Fingerprinting-augmented, automated video search and capture services represent the pinnacle of modern monitoring services and are the quality of service employed by owners and broadcasters of the largest live sporting competitions and entertainment events.

Does your vendor disrupt illegal operations in real-time?

Sports content, especially live events, is extremely popular and therefore amongst the most valuable content. Content owners, broadcasters and OTT service providers all want to ensure this content is safe and any fraudulent activity that involves diverting revenue from legitimate rights holders is stopped while the content still retains its greatest value: while the event is ongoing.

As the value of live content quickly diminishes, the success of any fraud counteraction is measured in minutes – if not seconds. Highly automated monitoring should be in place to detect incidents swiftly so that effective enforcement actions can be issued at speed to protect the ROI of the content. 

Can your vendor protect content of a short duration?

As the popularity of social media platforms continues to grow, content of shorter duration is highly attractive. From comedy to sports highlights, this content is highly engaging and easy to share. Some licensing agreements stipulate very strict rules and even such short-duration content can only be shared by authorised sources.

However, not all content monitoring solutions are capable of monitoring for content of short duration: some content verification technologies might not be as good at matching content if it’s just a few seconds long so for these vendors it’s just not feasible to include such content into the list of the content they protect. If you are looking to protect short content, you’ll need to check your vendor has the right technology to support you.

So there you have it! We hope this has helped, but if you want to find out more about monitoring and how it can secure your investments in content, please contact one of our team today. You can also download our monitoring ebook below. 

Download our monitoring ebook

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