Protecting premium video content on OTT platforms through dynamic watermarking

Watermarking videos available as OTT content with digital watermarks is becoming increasingly popular as a direct approach to provide an extra degree of security alongside the digital rights management (DRM) technology. While watermarks are simple to insert in video frames and automated through smart algorithms, removing them takes a lot of sophisticated effort and skill, making illegal content distribution even more difficult. Watermarks are created by using a JSON string that describes how and what will be superimposed on protected media assets.

The concept of dynamic watermarks has come to the rescue of OTT companies, as they can be updated in real time on all platforms where the video has been released. On the other hand, static watermarks are fixed once the video is released and can carry a limited amount of static information. This allows the content owner the opportunity to update or even erase the watermarks during subsequent playback requests, enhancing the security of DRM protected content. If the video’s logo, website, user information, or picture reference changes, the watermarks on individual films or the entire asset collection can be modified, depending on the content creator’s requirements.

Depending on where the content is being watched, the watermark information can potentially be presented in a different language. Watermarking techniques can be modified with dynamic video watermarking algorithms, providing superior protection against any attempts to pirate live and streaming platforms. They also allow content makers to spatially move the watermark around while the video is playing, making it impossible for the user to record the video or resize the screen. The frequency with which the changing location takes place can also be adjusted dynamically.

Dynamic watermarking allows content owners to insert a non-removable, imperceptible watermark on video frames during playback at the user’s end, which could include user-identifying information, such as email address, date and time of viewing, IP address, the creator’s brand logo, session ID, operating system information, etc. This video watermarking technique is also called forensic watermarking. Such watermarks offer an additional layer of security to confidential content that is not supposed to be shared or altered because they change dependent on different criteria when opened (user information, etc.).

Dynamic watermarking comes in handy for dynamic ad insertion, which is required to maximize advertising revenue. While watermarks are not a guarantee against piracy on their own, but when combined with other DRM video protection measures, they can secure the content owner’s IP.