Virtualization. Cloud. It’s a growing trend among operators in the pay-TV space who are seeking to optimize costs and gain more flexibility – whether they’re looking to deploy full scale multiscreen services or components thereof, such as CAS and DRM, there is a clear opportunity for virtualizing pay-TV services and technologies and make the best use of the cloud.

And this is particularly true in the DRM space. Operators are increasingly challenged by the multiple DRM systems required to serve the wide variety of devices popular with consumers, including proprietary devices like Microsoft’s Xbox that only support one DRM type. This leads to integrating, maintaining and operating several DRM systems.

Of course, cloud DRMs are nothing new. Several consumer DRM products (PlayReady, Adobe or Widevine for instance) are already offered as a cloud service. But it is an emerging trend for implementing operator DRM products, and, in particular for smaller operators, as cloud services are an efficient way to optimize their own operations while getting a robust level of service.

More flexibility, less cost

Depending on the type of content (live or on-demand) and the encoding/packaging approach used by the operator (centralized or network edge), the DRM packaging can occur either at the operator head-end (on-premise) or be done entirely in the cloud. Yet in both cases, a cloud DRM solution helps optimize an operator’s operational costs and simplify their own diverse IT infrastructure and operations by outsourcing the complexity of managing multiple DRM head-end systems.

And there are other benefits. A cloud DRM also for a pay-as-you-grow type of business model, enabling operators to start quickly to reach multiple multiscreen TV devices and then scale fast as needed thereafter. This minimizes the risk of upfront investments, in particular when launching new multiscreen services. Another cloud DRM operator benefit is the elasticity that it offers when there is a peak in consumer demand.

So what’s the first step an operator should take to implement cloud-based DRM?

We recommend that they first define their multiscreen device reach requirements and identify the most appropriate DRM solution for each device type. A solution that addresses a broad range of needs for both hybrid and pure OTT networks is ideal. Operators should consider how they see their multiscreen and multi-DRM needs evolve over time, including anticipating their future use of other third party DRMs to reach more proprietary devices. This then will likely drive their requirement to use a multi-DRM platform that can be deployed on-site or operated from the cloud.

If done right, the benefits of the cloud can be huge and open up virtually limitless possibilities for innovation and growth of next generation services.

Interested in learning more about our operator-controlled DRM and Cloud TV services? Turning to a specialized partner like NAGRA can help you manage the complexity of interfacing with multiple DRM systems and deliver a cloud-based solution that brings value to your platform. 

NAGRA already provides its operator DRM product, NAGRA anyCAST PRM, for STB and multiscreen devices, as a cloud service and also as part of its multi-DRM solution, NAGRA MediaLive. MediaLive provides an efficient architecture for delivering a complete end-to-end content preparation and delivery solution whether on-premise or as a cloud-based service. 

NAGRA is a contributing DASH-IF member and drives the DRM head-end interface standardization workgroup.