Nielsen Launches Content-Protection Tool for Web Video

Nielsen is getting into the content-protection game.

The media-measurement giant teamed up with Beaverton, Ore.-based


to create a new service called Nielsen Digital Media Manager that will use digital-watermarking and fingerprinting technology to help media companies manage and protect their copyrighted content as it is distributed across the Internet. The product is due to be available in mid-2008.

The solution -- which will leverage digital-watermarking technology that Nielsen already uses for its TV-ratings service -- will allow programmers to identify what content is being shared, viewed, mashed up or accessed on individual Web sites and create rules that will allow or disallow content to be uploaded.

Besides acting as a content-protection tool, Nielsen said the Digital Media Manager service will allow programmers to develop new revenue streams and measure the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.

Nielsen is relatively late to enter the content-protection field. Specialist firms such as Widevine already provide digital-fingerprinting technologies to large content providers, and Google developed similar technology for its wildly popular YouTube video site.

Nielsen noted that it already encodes some 95% of national TV content for its ratings services and, as such, Digital Media Manager will focus initially on the online distribution of television content in the United States.

Nielsen -- which is licensing digital-watermarking technology from Digimarc to create the new solution -- said it will also work with Digimarc to digitally watermark DVDs, movies, music, video games and other content in subsequent phases of the rollout of its new media-identification and management services.

“We believe these services will stimulate the growth of online-video distribution, to the benefit of consumers, content providers and distributors,” Nielsen chairman and CEO David Calhoun said in a statement.

“Until now, the lack of an independent, industry-accepted identification and tracking service has limited the transactions that allow the delivery of media content over the Internet,” he added. “Now, with our new media-identification and management service’s unique ability to identify content throughout the Internet, both content providers and distributors can protect and monetize the value of online media.”