Broadband TV News speaks with Neil Sharpe, Director Product Marketing, Friend MTS.
Please tell us a little about how Friend MTS got into the piracy protection business – and did it do anything before that?
Friend MTS was founded by CEO Jonathan Friend while he was studying electronic engineering at Birmingham University. Jonathan became interested in media security and the growth of online music piracy at the time, researching rights management and content identification/tracking technologies. He founded the company to develop products and services in this area. Friend MTS now focuses exclusively on video security for some of the biggest pay-TV operators, broadcasters and rights holders around the world.
What, in your view, are the greatest piracy threats facing the industry today?
Streaming piracy is a huge threat to broadcasters and content rights owners, especially with respect to premium sports and entertainment content. A typical live event will create thousands of streaming piracy channels. Millennial consumers are especially savvy about accessing pirate content, and there’s a real danger that streaming piracy will continue to grow as higher broadband speeds to the home make piracy more accessible. Streaming piracy impacts traditional and OTT delivery, and the reality is that traditional CA and DRM, whilst important, are not sufficient to provide end-to-end security. Unfortunately, it’s too easy for content to be taken from an HDMI output with HDCP removed, and for OTT content to be recorded and streamed.
Could you give a brief outline of how you defeat these threats?
To stop streaming piracy, there’s a need to first identify the pirate content, and then take it down by deactivating the subscriber that’s responsible for illegal redistribution. To find the streaming piracy across the internet, Friend MTS’ ASiD service provides highly automated worldwide channel monitoring that uses video fingerprinting for rapid content recognition. This monitoring spans illegal streaming devices, Kodi add-ins, mobile apps, websites and social media. Once the theft has been identified, the source of the redistribution can be pinpointed using subscriber level watermarking. This identifies the individual subscribers responsible, and this information is relayed directly to the client’s subscriber management system so their access can be terminated.
You offer services rather than solutions or products. Why is that?
Friend MTS is different from other content protection businesses in that it offers managed services rather than software or hardware. The company is geared towards delivering a specific level of content protection and results for clients, rather than selling products.
What are your USPs compared to your competitors?
• Fastest response to premier sports and entertainment streaming piracy. Illegal content can be recognised in seconds, and the subscribers responsible for redistributing content can be identified and their access revoked within five minutes.
• The ultra-lightweight service can be used on almost all existing set top boxes regardless of chipset, and with no processing or battery life impact on OTT devices
• Highest level of service automation to allow thousands of pirate streams to be monitored for multiple channels.
• Designed for the largest pay-TV platforms; ASiD is the most widely deployed subscriber-level watermarking in the world.
• Ease & breadth of integration – services work across cable, satellite, IPTV and OTT, including new and legacy set-top boxes.
• Invisible fingerprinting and watermarking – the service is ideal for premium sports and entertainment content that demands an outstanding viewer experience
Could you say a little more about why you’re so successful in protecting live sports?
Friend MTS is successful through a combination of its unmatched monitoring and watermarking technology; its service model dedicated to defeating piracy; and its deep domain expertise within the content protection market.
Could you tells us about your customers?
Friend MTS’ clients include many of the largest media and entertainment businesses in the world, including pay-TV operators, broadcasters and rights holders.