Ready to Guess Who Will Have the Rights to That Content?

By James Maysonet, Head of Business Development, Videocites

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Step right up to the best streaming content carnival you’ve ever seen! Come now and see the newest online content while it lasts!

Well, that’s what it feels like to many consumers these days. As a result of mergers and acquisitions, streaming wars, and content overload many consumers get confused with not only what to watch but also where to stream and when.

The merger between Disney and Fox, CBS and Viacom and let’s not leave out Warner Bros. (Now WarnerMedia) and AT&T, means more than 50% of all major studios have their operations in flux. To add to the pressure, there is Apple TV, Disney+, Warner’s streaming service, Hulu, Netflix, CBS All Access, Roku, Amazon, and YouTube (I feel like Bubba reciting the various ways to cook shrimp to Forrest Gump). The list goes on.

While it’s been called the Golden Age of Television, it feels more like the Age of Confusion. As a result, many studies have been weaponized, leading to a false narrative that most online piracy is due to being unable to find certain content legally. That’s like telling the court you robbed the bank because you couldn’t find an ATM that didn’t charge a fee.

Videocites believes this to be negligible; it is more about ease of access than not being able to find it and pay for it legally. What’s really happening is more like a Brinks truck leaving their doors open.

The reality is there are several mitigating factors to on-line piracy.

The first is the speed at which the pirates can generate, copy, and alter content is overwhelming the manual processes today’s anti-piracy solution providers offer. If I had a dime for every time a content security officer told me “it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole,” I could have retired by now.

Second, the lack of sophisticated technology makes many anti-piracy solution providers dependent on meta data and audio to cobble together a hybrid manual/systemic search.

This Frankenstein approach can find pirated content, but only after several days, weeks, months and, in some cases, Videocites has found prime television and theatrical content was available on social sites for over a year, garnering millions of views. The current anti-piracy vendors, as well as, social media site owners do not have the capability to find altered content: picture in picture, cam-rips, content chopped into 5-minute increments, nor even manipulated speed of content.

The final factor is battle fatigue. This industry has been fighting this battle for so long, even since the days of VHS. With the rising tide of streaming, it’s like fighting a modern war with 18th century capability and budget. Many anti-piracy solution providers today offer a one-stop, full-service shop with watermarking, so-called fingerprinting, content protection and anti-piracy included, but these anti-piracy services continue to fall short with their capabilities.

Given these factors, it has been recognized by many industry professionals that the piracy is more of a result of the ease of access, not because it is difficult to find legally. Behind closed doors and at dinner conversations, many experts know that piracy is a reality that will continue. Ease of access is a symptom of the issues formed by lethargic, archaic technology and processes from which many organizations suffer today.

Videocites has accurately run data and found that most premium content (television & theatrical), protected by the current anti-piracy vendors, has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times (sometimes millions) before being taken down, in some cases results showing that some content remained available for over a year! To truly address the issue, the discussion now needs to move from how the content will eventually be taken down to what is the value of removing the illegal content expeditiously and continually?

Pirated content will continue to find a way before the eyes of wanting consumers, either through advances in technology or creative workarounds of site controls. Given this belief, Videocites has worked hard to develop a technology that does not make it easy for pirates and the consumers of pirated content to exploit. Videocites built the first, commercial AI-based video-by-video search engine in which the query is the video itself. State-of-the-art computer vision and deep learning technologies inside enable tracking the toughest video manipulations with extremely high accuracy and without false detection.

Today’s processes and technology cannot keep up with piracy demands and the streaming wars, coupled with mergers and acquisitions, will equal more anxiety, for both operations and consumers. Pirates will continually exploit this and allow consumers to easily access the content that slips through the cracks. It is time that we change the conversation to what is the value of removing the ease of access to any pirated content. Videocites is prepared to having that conversation.

James leads Videocites’ U.S. based office as head of business development. An expert at re-engineering business processes and aligning practices to reflect corporate vision and mission by introducing innovative solutions, he has more than 15 years of executive experience in complex supply chains, global strategic roadmaps, data governance, and operational business intelligence. He has worked with high-tech manufacturing, retail, major film studios, major video game publishers, and the music industry. [email protected]