Mounting a Defense Against World Cup Pirates

Did you know that every day, consumers around the globe watch their favorite TV shows and movies via illegal streams that they found on the Internet — and don’t even know they’re pirating content?

Today’s consumers expect to have access to sports and live events on every screen, anywhere they go. With the World Cup underway and already breaking viewership records, there’s significant opportunity to engage fútbol aficionados by meeting this demand. This year, Univision’s Spanish-language coverage is disrupting the sports streaming model by providing live, around-the-clock coverage for 56 matches on multiple screens and mobile platforms.

As new products and providers emerge daily, live streaming piracy is on the rise and is a challenge that requires serious attention — yet also represents a tremendous opportunity to learn from business intelligence and deliver on unmet consumer demand. Within this piece, we explore three key steps to disrupt piracy, re-engage consumers and uncover business intelligence from piracy. Call it a hat trick: Defending the net, opening up the field for fans and predicting your next move.

1) Mount a good defense: Disrupting piracy and protecting your rights isn’t just about setting up barriers and thinking, “My content is secure.” It’s important to address security as a three-step approach: Discover the places that usually post pirated content and protect from piracy on those channels; track for illegal streams and take them down real-time; and analyze results.

2) Re-engage fans by giving them the stadium experience anywhere and everywhere: People of all ages watch the World Cup, and on multiple devices. The goal needs to be to deliver the games on every device possible so that it’s easy to access the games through all of Univision’s properties.

3) Use data to predict and protect against pirates’ next move: This step is possibly the most important one because content owners and distributors can’t move ahead unless they know what pirate activity happened during a broadcast. After an event, take a look at where illegal activity occurred, and then figure out why. Only then can you truly learn from your data and make smarter decisions about where and how you distribute content.

Millions will watch the World Cup across Univision platforms this year. Both Univision and Irdeto know the primary goal is to distribute every match to as many screens as possible so that viewers can be part of the action, no matter what screen they’re watching from. But we also need to make sure that those matches are watched legally and, if not, that the piracy is managed appropriately to protect broadcasters’ rights.

Taking the right steps to protect these rights and revenue while providing the best consumer experience possible not only captures new audiences, but it helps broadcasters to evolve and innovate. The journey of live sports streaming must include the continuous exploration and development of security and anti-piracy technologies like watermarking for broadcasters, to be truly well-poised for the future and become smarter about consumer demand.

Eddy Vivas is vice president, rights management and content protection at Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. Paul Ragland is vice president, North America at Irdeto, a provider of software and services for multiscreen delivery, media protection and revenue assurance for content companies.