FEED issue 28 Web

Exploring the future of media technology


The beat goes on in lockdown


As events continue to push us into new territory, this issue continues our exploration of the ways people are pushing back against the isolation caused by Covid-19 and continuing to create new content and new audiences. We look at a venture from Manchester, UK, which aims to bring the city’s nightlife to the whole world, with bands, DJs, singers and performers livestreaming sets from the city’s venues. People worldwide are tuning in to get a taste from their homes. In this month’s Round Table, we learn how to build a simple remote studio. With TV presenters, talent and experts literally phoning it in, broadcasters are having to deploy smart, low-maintenance but high-quality set-ups, which can turn an office or spare bedroom into a TV studio. Our experts answer questions on everything from getting the right equipment to training the talent to become their own directors and lighting technicians. This month’s Genius Interview guest, Lauren Klein, is co-writer of a book on how to rethink how we work with data. Data Feminism , written in partnership with Catherine D’Ignazio, challenges a lot of assumptions about how we deal with the masses of data being extracted from us and presented to us on a minute-by- minute basis – the first of which is that data is neutral or objective. In fact, data is much more likely to be an expression of the people who created it – or created the algorithms that created it. There is no such thing as ‘raw data.’ This issue we also continue with FEED:SHOW, our ‘trade show in a magazine’ that offers you the chance to see new releases and hear what’s available from video tech vendors around the world. LIVE FROM THE LIVING ROOM!

EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 nealromanek@bright-publishing.com

STAFF WRITER Chelsea Fearnley




SUB EDITORS Elisha Young & Felicity Evans


Nicole Kobie Philip Stevens


ADVERTISING ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Matt Snow +44 (0) 1223 499453 mattsnow@bright-publishing.com





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NEWSFEED Dispatches from the world of online video 6 YOUR TAKE the alternative? 10 SOCIAL MEDIA TikTok is one of the world’s most popular apps. It’s time for broadcasters to take it seriously 22 GENIUS INTERVIEW We talk to Lauren Klein about her book, Data Feminism , and a new way of seeing our digital world 38 FEED:SHOW Streaming is not as green as most people think. But what’s Our ‘trade show in a magazine’ is back with all the latest product announcements! 44 THE VOD FILES for advertisers? 57 START-UP ALLEY Our start-ups include podcast tools, targeted advertising and cloud services for broadcasters 60 BRAINFEED could win a FEED T-shirt! 66 Online video or linear television? Which offers the best return Exercise your grey matter with our media tech crossword – and you


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Manchester ’s United We Stream gives performers a chance to reach a world in lockdown

Our experts explain how to build a graphics-rich home studio for lockdown broadcasting

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6 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades



Twitter says it will let its employees work from home “forever” if they want to. The decision comes after the company said its work-from-home measures during the lockdown have been a success. “We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home, given our emphasis on decentralisation and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere,” Twitter said in a blog post. “The past few months have proven that we can make that work. So, if our

employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.” Twitter has “strongly encouraged” working from home since 2 March and mandated employees work from home on 11 March. Those who want to return to the office will probably need to wait until at least September. “When we do decide to open office, it also won’t be a snap back to the way it was before,” the statement said. “It will be careful, intentional and gradual.”

Twitter has suspended almost all employee business travel and all of its in-person events until 2021. It’s also giving employees increased allowances to buy home office supplies, such as desks and desk chairs. Other companies across the tech industry are also weighing up how to manage their offices over the coming months. Google and Facebook have extended their work-from-home policies into 2021 and Amazon has extended its policy until at least October.

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7 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades


Albert, the Bafta-backed screen industries environmentalist group, has launched a new initiative designed to help actors, agents and casting directors support the industry as it transitions to a carbon-neutral future. Through an actor ’s contract, the Green Rider enables requests such as plant-based catering, low-energy lighting and a “zero to landfill” policy. “Actors and their agents, alongside casting directors, have a huge amount of influence, and they all want help to

and guidance for how to do this. We’re really excited to see how this is adopted by the industry and the positive changes it will bring about.” This year saw the Bafta awards ceremony go carbon neutral – and receive a mark of certification from Albert – for the first time. Following the launch on 5 May, the Green Rider will be made freely available on Albert’s website, plus a series of webinars to highlight how it can be used.

do more to make our carbon-intensive industry more sustainable,” said Richard Wilson, CEO of Spotlight, which helped create the Green Rider with Albert. “The Green Rider gives them a framework


Rise, the membership group for gender diversity within the broadcast technology sector, has announced the pairings of mentees and mentors for its third annual mentoring scheme in the UK, and its first mentoring scheme in the APAC region. Thirty mentees have been placed on the scheme and each will receive 12 hours of one-to-one time with their mentor, the opportunity to meet the mentee group on a monthly basis, as well as attend networking events, workshops and seminars throughout the six-month programme, all of which will be delivered digitally until the lockdown lifts. Also, this year, Sports Video Group (SVG) Europe Women is supporting two women from the programme by offering specific sports industry advice, sessions, events and guidance. Carrie Wootten, director of Rise, said: “We know that the support provided through the programme is needed now more than ever and are delighted to be working in partnership with SVG Europe Women this year and supporting 30 women from across the sector.” She added: “I would like to thank our incredible sponsors and partners, and of course, the mentors, for all of their continued support of Rise and enabling us to bring the scheme to women in the industry. Because of your generosity, we have been able to launch an APAC mentoring scheme this year based in Singapore, run by Nancy Diaz Curiel.”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the internet’s domain name system, has rejected the proposed $1.1bn sale of the .org Public Interest Registry (PIR) to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. In a blog post, ICANN’s board said that the transfer would have given up the current focus of PIR in favour of “an entity that is bound to serve the interests of its corporate stakeholders, and which has no meaningful plan to protect or serve the .org community”. It also cited that the sale would leave PIR with a $360m debt that could threaten future operations. PIR was founded by the Internet Society (ISOC) to handle the .org domain in 2004, but it was announced later last year that the ISOC would be transferring control of the domain to Ethos Capital in exchange for a $1.1bn endowment. The change of hands immediately raised concern about censorship and how internet infrastructure affects free speech. Websites using .org can be

registered by anybody, but over the past decade it has become the go-to domain term for not-for- profits and charities. The transfer of control of .org domains would mean a new owner could raise the price of addresses, making it expensive for not-for-profits that have come to rely on its name recognition. Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote to ICANN urging it to stop the sale: “Essentially, it means selling censorship. It could mean suspending domain names, causing websites to go dark when some powerful interest wants them gone.” Ethos and ISOC criticised the decision. Ethos stated that it “opens the door for ICANN to unilaterally reject future transfer requests based on agenda-driven pressure by outside parties”. And ISOC wrote: “Although we respect ICANN’s role in supporting the internet’s technical coordination functions, we are disappointed that ICANN has acted as a regulatory body it was never meant to be. Despite ICANN’s decision, our work to connect the unconnected and strengthen the internet will continue.”

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8 NEWSFEED Updates & Upgrades


Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, IBC had held steady in its plans to pull off its annual September show at the RAI in Amsterdam. But the organisation has said despite its best efforts to “deliver a safe and successful environment in September, it is clear that a return to (a new) normal is unlikely to be achieved by then”. In a statement, IBC CEO Michael Crimp stressed that the earlier a decision was taken, the easier it would be for the industry to plan for the future. Crimp recognised the wide disappointment felt at the cancellation, but said pressing ahead would have compromised the show’s ‘spirit,’ due to social distancing, travel restrictions, masks, etc. IBC is in the process of exploring digital and online alternatives. IBC is one of the biggest TV tech trade shows in the world. Last year, it attracted more than 56,000 attendees from 150 countries, exhibiting more than 1700 technology suppliers.

Facebook has agreed to pay a settlement of $52m in a court case alleging the company failed to protect workers tasked with moderating disturbing content from the grave mental health impacts of the job. As part of the settlement, moderators will get a minimum of $1000 each from Facebook, with the potential for additional damage awards of up to $50,000 if they have been diagnosed with mental health disorders, including PTSD. Moderators, who are usually outsourced by the company, are constantly exposed to graphic content, including child pornography, beheadings, terrorism and animal cruelty. “The harm that can be suffered from this work is real and severe,” Steven Williams, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “The FACEBOOK NOT FINE

fact that we got some real, meaningful relief going forward feels really good.” The lawsuit was filed by former moderator Selena Scola in a California state court in September 2018 and later joined by several other former employees. Scola developed PTSD after working at the job for nine months. Others said their views were pushed further right and some said they became desensitised to the content (read our December 2019 issue for more info on this).

As part of the settlement, Facebook will make improvements to the work environment, including requiring its vendors to provide coaching sessions with licensed mental health counsellors, enhancing review tools designed to make moderators’ work safer and other mental health support. Williams said: “When the case started, it was about changing policies. We are fortunate it has broadened; the perspective going forward is just as important as monetary relief.”

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Watching TV is not a green habit. And online TV is less Earth-friendly than old-school broadcasting. How do we make streaming sustainable?

igital technologies are generating an increasing amount of the world’s greenhouse gases, with much of

many of us are addicted to TV. Does Anevia really expect to change that? We don’t. We assume that it is easier to change ourselves than to change others, and that is what we have been focusing on: finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of our industry through resource optimisation. Our aim is to optimise storage efficiency and reduce bandwidth requirements by at least 30%. We are also striving to reduce the infrastructure cost by avoiding a multiple transcoding profile. And there is further potential to reduce the energy consumption in data centres by using artificial intelligence. PRIVATE CLOUD IS GREENER The world’s IT infrastructure is increasingly going cloud-based, with two models: public cloud and private cloud. And private cloud is ‘greener ’ for two reasons. First, because of proximity. In the public cloud model, data is hosted on servers that may be situated anywhere in the world. Every time someone accesses them, the data must travel from that server to the client’s location. In the private cloud model, data is hosted on servers that are generally much closer to the client, so there is less

this energy consumed by data centres and network infrastructures. And things are only set to get worse. The energy consumption of digital technology is increasing by as much as 9% per year, and a recent forecast by Ericsson Mobility Report estimated that video streaming will represent about 75% of annual mobile network traffic by 2024. That translates to 102 exabytes, or 102 billion gigabytes. But why does online TV viewing consume so much? Well, it is personalised, with each viewer getting a different video package based on what screen, operating systems and preferred resolution the viewer is using. Also because of new ways of consuming TV – including replay and time-shift. And partly because of better image quality – think Ultra-High Definition, High Dynamic Range and 4K. These three things combined mean we need more storage and more bandwidth – and so we produce more greenhouse gases. In an ideal world, we would all stop watching and go outside. Unfortunately,

DAMIEN LUCAS CTO and co-founder of Anevia explains how to make online TV as green as possible

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network traffic – consuming less energy and requiring fewer routers. Second, because private cloud fosters good behaviour. In the public cloud model, it is very easy to add resources (usually just a click away). This encourages waste. In the private cloud model, adding resources means buying, installing and configuring new servers. This tends to encourage ‘greener ’ behaviour. GOING FURTHER A private cloud deployment can still use huge amounts of resources. So we have developed solutions to reduce that. Highly efficient encoders – though perhaps priced slightly higher – are a responsible investment. Ours use an efficient encoding algorithm, which reduces by 20% the data that needs to be delivered every second for a given quality of image. When this is multiplied by millions of subscribers, and by the number of seconds in a day, the result can be a huge saving in terms of bandwidth – meaning less energy is consumed and fewer routers need to be deployed. Just-in-time packaging also significantly reduces the required content storage.

fluctuates, from huge numbers during a mid-afternoon sports final to almost zero at 3am. TV service providers generally deploy over-capacity so they can meet peak demands with high quality. Most of the time, 94% of their capacity is wasted. Using our recently introduced CDN (content delivery network) technology, they can build an elastic CDN so they can switch nodes on or off, and assign the unused nodes to other tasks, such as file encoding for VOD or for dynamic ad insertion. MARKET DEMAND The bad news: TV channel operators have not shown much interest yet in green OTT. The good news: they do want cost efficiency. Since resource optimisation reduces costs, that creates an indirect demand for green OTT. Telecom Argentina, Post Luxembourg and Netplus have all adopted our technology – reducing the environmental footprint of their service platforms, while also increasing their efficiency. We will not stop people from watching TV. But we are proud to help our customers deploy the technology that makes this habit that much greener.

Instead of having to store the same content in different formats, just-in-time packaging means TV service providers only need to store content once, reducing their storage requirements threefold while supporting Google Android, Apple iPhone and Microsoft, for example. Our technology uses the same servers for streaming and storing content, halving the number of physical rack units needed. Our shared workflow approach allows TV service providers to use the same video data for live, start-over, catch-up and cloud DVR (digital video recorder). This significantly reduces the use of storage and network bandwidth requirements. Carefully implemented resource sharing allows a single server to be used for multiple functions instead of being dedicated to a single role. Video traffic PRIVATE CLOUD FOSTERS GOOD BEHAVIOUR

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12 STREAMPUNK Live Music

A new streaming model called United We Stream is Manchester’s answer to saving its nightlife culture

Words by Chelsea Fearnley

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13 STREAMPUNK Live Music

ith pubs, nightclubs and restaurants closing to slow the spread of Covid-19, nightlife in Manchester (and the UK)

A lot of the live gigs are dropping from venues that embody the city’s “Madchester” era: The Haçienda – a now demolished club, which shot to fame during the 1980s and 1990s – has even been resurrected for the occasion. And so-called Hacienda House Parties, held at Factory 251, featuring the likes of long-serving DJs Graeme Park and Allister Whitehead and Joy Division’s bassist Peter Hook, are happening to uplift viewer ’s spirits during this difficult time. AUTHENTIC TELEVISION Manchester ’s rich creative history is what led to the city stepping up to this enormous

was expected to come to a stop. But alas, the beats are still popping and the city – known for its world-famous music scene – has turned to live streaming. The virtual club is now in session. United We Stream is a collaboration of Greater Manchester ’s cultural and nightlife businesses. Every evening from 7pm, bands, DJs, singers and performers livestream their sets from the city’s venues, and people worldwide are tuning in to get a taste of it from their homes.

FACE THE MUSIC Samuel Day, production coordinator, on set for the Homobloc live stream

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14 STREAMPUNK Live Music

livestreaming challenge. United We Stream is a tried-and-tested concept, which started in Berlin to sustain the city’s illustrious rave culture and techno club nights during lockdown, and it’s a model that is now being used in other cities around the world. Sacha Lord, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) night-time economic advisor, worked around the clock

Manchester economy alive. The Greater Manchester area, which is made up of boroughs Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford, is very good at coming together in the face of adversity. We’ve helped each other through the IRA bombing, the Ariana Grande concert bombing and we’ll help each other through this.” McKevitt’s team was chosen by the GMCA to produce and broadcast United We Stream for Manchester, because it was important to have a team that is passionate about the city at the centre of it. It was also because Salford University’s media production team is student-led; there’s a young, energetic and multiskilled talent within it that you wouldn’t necessarily find from the big broadcasters. “I’m 46, I’m an old fart really,” admits McKevitt. “But the team around me have absolutely narrowed the digital skills gap, which is a big problem at the moment. My camera operator knows how to edit and direct a live stream; and my stream engineer knows how to create graphics and run a camera. Whereas the BBC, for example, would have 20 different people all focussed on their individual jobs. And there’s a reason for that; they’re producing high-quality broadcast content. But we’re in a different time now. The content doesn’t have to be polished, it just has to be authentic – and the best thing about what we’re doing is that it’s engaging.”

with his Berlin counterparts, the GMCA and Salford University’s media production team to enable Greater Manchester to become the second city in the world to launch the concept. Colin McKevitt, director of Salford University’s media production team, says: “Sacha was quick to recognise that this is what we needed to keep our vibrant


SOUND OF MUSIC Venues’ broadcast galleries usually have an occupancy of eight to ten people, but now just two people run the shows

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16 STREAMPUNK Live Music


He continues, “We’re engaging audiences at home, who are sharing the same experiences as the person stood on the stage. When Oldham-born musician Clint Boon played, he performed a poem about Anthony H Wilson, who was the godfather of Factory Records, The Haçienda and the Madchester era. Anthony passed away a few years ago, so when Clint read his poem, he was crying. A key worker tweeted us to say he felt connected because he was sharing Clint’s emotion.” GREEDY SOCIAL NETWORKS Audiences can tune into the live streams directly via the unitedwestream.co.uk website, and the team is also putting out streams on Twitter, Twitch and Facebook. The streams are free to access, but the GMCA is requesting that small donations be made, with funds raised going to support bars, clubs, pubs, venues, restaurants, performers and cultural organisations across Greater Manchester, as well as to support the fight against homelessness in the region. “All we ask is that you pay what you would if you were going to a gig in real life,” explains McKevitt. “Our donate button is on the website, so we try to push people to that if they tune in on another platform.” It is actually possible to embed donate buttons into live streams shown on

BEHIND THE SCENES Crew direct acts, operate the graphics etc and eight camera feeds, sent from two camera operators on the ground

Facebook, but unfortunately, this has not been an option for McKevitt and his team. They have had to ask audiences to watch elsewhere, whether that’s on their website, Twitter or Twitch, because of Facebook’s stringent copyright restrictions. McKevitt explains: “Facebook hasn’t quite understood the power of what we’re trying to achieve. After about five minutes of the live stream being aired, it cuts off and we get a copyright strike.” McKevitt has tried reaching out to Facebook to get whitelisted, but has always been met by a bot. “My belief is that Facebook is very focused on revenue clicks and the movement of its media consumers,”

he says. “If they have someone sat still, watching a video for several hours, they’re not going to be able to monetise that. But the company needs to realise we’re not living in ‘normal’ times anymore. The game has changed, and the way that we engage with our audiences has changed.” At the heart of this project is a streaming workflow built around Blackmagic hardware. Blackmagic was selected, not to provide a one-off solution, but to build a long-lasting creative partnership with Salford University’s media production team. “It links back to why I created this team; students want to have tangible work experiences and businesses want to work with new talent,” says McKevitt. “When we met with Blackmagic, I had drafted in some students from the professional sound and video technology course to design a broadcast gallery box for the events. I knew I wanted an ATEM and some other bits of Blackmagic kit, but I didn’t really have a vision of what the workflow would look like. And while we were sat down with Blackmagic, talking through some ideas, one of the students designed it all. We later ordered the equipment and then the student that designed it built it. After it was built, Blackmagic took a look at it and gave that student a job.” This is not the first time a student has been plucked from McKevitt’s team after working on a talent and industry collaborative project. Some students now

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17 STREAMPUNK Live Music

work for big clients like the Super League. “We’re feeding back into the industry as a result of what we do,” he says.

recently went to a restaurant and its chef was talking to us about how the pandemic has affected their business and mental health. But also, about how it’s changed people’s behaviour towards going to restaurants. He said a lot of people are learning to cook during lockdown and he was worried about whether restaurants will still be needed once this is all over.” Officially, United We Stream is due to finish around the end of June. But McKevitt believes its duration will probably be longer than that, with restrictions on the hospitality, arts and music industries likely being the last to ease. “The last thing the government is going to want to do when we’re through this is permit gatherings of more than X amount of people. I think it will be months and months, maybe into the new year, before events start up again.” The music industry, which has previously fought against the streaming sector, is even beginning to warm up to it. McKevitt concludes: “What we’re doing is showing the music industry that streaming is actually a cooperative technology, and it’s a thing that can work alongside gigs when they come back online. Foo Fighters recently did a gig on Facebook and it was brilliant. It was a free gig on Facebook, so it’s not always the easiest platform to monetise on, but it probably increased their following because streaming has the capacity to reach new audiences and create new connections.”



In each United We Stream set, performers stand alone, illuminated by light projections against empty dance floors. It’s a potent reminder that the streams aren’t a soundtrack for lockdown house parties, but to reflect on “the struggle that the coronavirus pandemic is having on people’s lives”, says McKevitt. The venues’ broadcast galleries, which usually have an occupancy of eight to ten people, is run by McKevitt and one other person. Here, they direct the acts, operate the graphics, vision mixer, sound, as well as eight camera feeds, which are sent from two camera operators on the ground. On top of this, they act as an audience to the performers. “It’s a very surreal experience for them, to perform without an audience. So, if there’s a musician on, we’ll dance around while operating the gallery to keep their energy up,” he enthuses. For performers who can’t make it to venues, live streams are carried out via Zoom, Skype and Wirecast, with the team utilising a small OBS truck and laptop feeds connected through the Blackmagic ATEM. McKevitt adds: “It’s great we’ve also been able travel about, because it’s allowed us to capture different experiences. We

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DRM is the most basic – and maybe the most important – building block for securing content. BuyDRM is helping provide peace of mind for a whole industry

treaming piracy is always in the news, mostly because a lot of people at home have tried it, and a lot of content creators are

beginning to end. DRM runs through the entire life cycle of a piece of content’s use, from digital dailies, pre-post, screeners, voters, direct-to-consumer, long-tail around studios and studio-mandated DRM. Christopher Levy, CEO and founder of BuyDRM, notes that while most of the focus on content piracy is around the end user and stream hacking, the biggest weak point is when the content is in post- production and pre-release. He explains: “There is so much focus on end user piracy, but the data available out there shows most leaks happen in the studio post-house being hacked. More often than not, it’s not the end user you need to worry about.” Streaming piracy is about hackers diverting content from its intended

destination to share it for ‘free’ to those who want access. The reason for the inverted commas on ‘free’ is because those using devices loaded with the likes of Kodi software to enable them to view this content – and according to the Digital Citizens Alliance there are 12 million active users of illicit devices in North America alone – are vulnerable. According to a Digital Citizens report, Fishing in the Piracy Stream: How the Dark Web of Entertainment is Exposing Consumers to Harm , hackers are targeting the rogue market that offers illegal access to pirated movies and live programming to spread malware and exploit unsuspecting users. Yet despite the risks, around 190 billion visits were made to illegal piracy sites

haemorrhaging revenues because of it. To try to curb this revenue and intellectual property leakage, there are technologies being employed to protect content. Digital rights management (DRM) can be described as armour that wraps around content that needs to be protected, from early on in the creative and editing process, to further down the line as it is distributed. Inside that armour are other forms of content protection, but these also need DRM surrounding them as the only form of fortification that travels with the content throughout its life cycle, everywhere, from

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DRM IS JUST ONE COMPONENT OF A FULL SPECTRUM OF SECURITY COMPONENTS USED IN CONCERT TO THWART THE THREAT OF PIRACY a partner that can handle that device fragmentation with a multi-DRM solution.” THE ANTI-PIRACY TOOLBOX There are several different tools used as part of the security process in protecting content, no matter how that content is presented, whether that’s on a DVD being sent out to a film reviewer, as a file in the cloud being worked on by a special FX team in another country, as live or video on demand (VOD), over-the-top (OTT) content being viewed or downloaded by a viewer, or any other number of possibilities. Watermarking, forensic or visual, “solves the issue of content out in the wild”, says Levy. “Watermarking can tell you who leaked the content. The more they use, the more you ratchet up the security level, as you can’t find it and you can’t necessarily see it. It’s the most powerful tool available to enable the reduction of piracy.” Running on both the client and server side, Levy explains operators are able to put a studio watermark into content when they receive it, as well as a session watermark in the content at the time of playback using ‘on-the-fly’ packaging. Levy adds they also use visual watermarks and ‘burn-ins,’ which is where operators print the user ’s information, IP or their session ID into the video frames as the content is being played back. Fingerprinting is mostly used to block content that is being tightly controlled by the licensor. An example of this is when a user loads a video containing fingerprinted music on to YouTube and the video is taken down, or if a user tries to upload a video

football league La Liga found itself facing a €250,000 fine by the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) as it was accused of illegally using its fan app to track down people pirating its content. La Liga is said to have used its app to listen in on fan conversations in order to trace streaming of its content in locations such as bars. In its defence, La Liga has stated that it uses a fingerprinting technique to protect its content and is appealing the fine, yet this shows how little agencies and end users are aware of the risks of piracy, and how content is really protected. “Right now, every direct-to-consumer app in the universe uses DRM,” says Levy. “Whether it’s sports, TV, movies or long- form episodic content, DRM is a driver of allowing long-tail and AVOD content to be delivered under the studio’s mandated use of DRM. DRM enables downloads and offline playback of these types of content as well.” Like a knight on a white charger, DRM, while defending content, is also a deterrent against content thieves. It enables the likes of content creators like BBC iPlayer, DAZN and Netflix, as well as platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, to make content available and even downloadable, which means those who want to watch do not need to go to illegal sources for their fix of live football or the latest episode of the most addictive new series. However, Levy warns: “The biggest challenge out there for DRM is the number of platforms being used by viewers. It’s a hugely fragmented landscape, so for a DRM strategy to be successful, you need

in 2018, with people most interested in TV programmes. The US led this dodgy league with 17.4bn illegal piracy site visits, according to MUSO, a digital piracy tracking business. This was followed by Russia with 14.5bn, Brazil with 10.3bn, India with 9.6bn and the UK with 5.75bn. Live sports is a prime target for illegal streams and downloads, but leagues, federations and rights holders are now cracking down on pirates. In March 2019, three men in the UK were sentenced to a group total of 17 years in prison for selling illegal streams of Premier League games to more than 1000 pubs, clubs and private homes over a ten-year period. However, these crackdowns do not always go to plan. In June 2019, top Spanish

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of a legitimate studio movie that has been fingerprinted, Facebook will block it. “Fingerprinting means you will be blocked if you’re not supposed to be using [that audio or visual content],” explains Levy. “Once the content is out in the wild, it denies you the opportunity to introduce it to a wider audience.” Wrapping around those technologies is DRM. “You have a lock on your car door, your house, your safe, your computer, your ATM card, your office, your kid’s school. The concept of using DRM on media just extends this core position that locks work. They deter casual theft and they prevent access in general by unauthorised parties,” points out Levy. “However, DRM is just one component of a full spectrum of security components used in concert to thwart the threat of piracy. All these other aspects limit access to the content stream or the download to the end user, but once they have done their job, the last thing that protects the stream or download is DRM,” points out Levy. “Without the DRM technology, all these other technologies fall down. With DRM, every time a user gets that content, they have to be authenticated and get a download token. Using DRM as the final piece of the solution, at the very minimum, operators can prevent the casual reuse, rebroadcast or pilfering of their digital media content.” GLOBAL SOLUTIONS FOR GLOBAL PARTNERS BuyDRM provides a life cycle DRM platform in use by every major studio in the US for pre-release, screeners, digital dailies, voters, B2B and B2C delivery of premium content. This life cycle includes a content origination packaging server, which includes formatting (segmentation, chunking, fragmenting, watermarking, encryption and delivery). It also offers a DRM SaaS platform and a DRM server. THE DATA AVAILABLE OUT THERE SHOWS THAT MOST LEAKS HAPPEN IN THE STUDIO POST-HOUSE BEING HACKED

Finally, it provides secure player SDKs for playing back the content. BuyDRM wraps these three columns together in the MultiScreener platform, where it deploys all of this tech in conjunction to provide the most secure platform for media possible today. As a partner of AWS Elemental, BuyDRM has a mutual API integration between its KeyOS Multi-DRM platform and the AWS Elemental MediaConvert and MediaPackage products. It also partners for testing and validation, deployment, marketing, and sales activities and updates to the API integration. Today, BuyDRM has ABC AU, Blizzard and Zee5 all using AWS Elemental with BuyDRM’s KeyOS. BBC The BBC has been a flagship client of BuyDRM’s for nearly a decade. BuyDRM provides the BBC with two components of the KeyOS platform, the MultiKey DRM Service and the MultiPlay SDKs. When a user downloads the BBC iPlayer app for iOS for example, inside the iPlayer application is the MultiPlay SDK, which ensures that the DRM workflow and playback workflows are intact. This includes everything from licence acquisition, secure licence storage, jailbreak protection, side attack protection, a download manager, AirPlay support and offline playback. Additionally, BBC iPlayer uses the BuyDRM KeyOS MultiKey Service, a DRM- as-a-service (DaaS) platform, to deliver DRM licence keys to all of its users on a wide variety of platforms, from Windows to Android and smart TVs Using KeyOS MultiKey Service, BBC iPlayer delivers DASH content using Google’s Widevine DRM, which is supported across a variety of popular consumer platforms. The broadcaster also uses the KeyOS MultiPlay SDKs to deliver DRM licences on mobile devices for protected playback of premium content. This multi-DRM approach furthers the BBC iPlayer brand as a leading streaming service to address UK’s demand for premium content. In April 2019, BuyDRM announced that BBC Studios has deployed its KeyOS MultiKey Service and MultiPlay SDKs for delivering secure video content. BBC Studios, a global content company, is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group. Formed in April 2018 by the merger of BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios, it spans content financing, development, production, sales, branded services and ancillaries. BBC Studios’ award-winning

British programmes are internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms. “BBC Studios continues to expand its reach in south-east Asia, South Africa and European markets and, as part of this expansion, we want to continue to ensure that our content security strategy is robust while offering our customers the flexibility for offline viewing that they’ve come to expect,” says Shad Hashmi, BBC Studios senior vice-president of digital development and services. “BuyDRM’s KeyOS platform allows us to deliver our content to online and offline mobile devices with a high level of security.” ZEE5 Zee5 is one of the top three largest media companies in India, with nearly 700 million users. Much like the BBC, Zee5 has a very geographically diverse user base, including India, South America, Africa, south-east Asia, Russia and the Middle East. The company services users in 12 languages in over 190 countries. To manage this global distribution play, the Zee5 relies on the BuyDRM KeyOS MultiKey Service and MultiPlay SDKs to enable its various operating groups to deliver content in a variety of languages, across locations and across many disparate networks.

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BuyDRM provided a massive Widevine implementation in KeyOS for Zee5 that is delivering close to five billion licenses a year, making it the world’s largest DRM deployment. With Chrome usage at 50% among viewers, Widevine was required, and BuyDRM also hit the mark with Zee5 as it could provide strong encryption and rights enforcement in a consumer-friendly DRM system. And since bandwidth is a premium in India, Zee5 uses the embedded download manager function built into the MultiPlay SDKs. Zee5 then uses the MultiKey Service to license users so they can download content and play it back offline, getting around the issue of bottlenecks in the network. SHOWTIME Showtime is a globally recognised brand with a variety of well-known series it produces, including Billions , Dexter , Homeland and Californication . As a long- time BuyDRM client, Showtime relies on its KeyOS MultiKey Service to protect the Showtime over-the-top (OTT) service for playback on a variety of platforms with a multitude of consumer DRMs on-board. Building on this success, Showtime chose BuyDRM to provide robust DRM for a live pay-per-view boxing match earlier in 2019 between Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner. This pay-per-view fight was

broadcast live on Showtime.com for Roku, Xbox, Fire TV and Chromecast, and protected with BuyDRM’s KeyOS MultiKey Service. “Major OTT operators like Showtime can ill afford to have any downtime in their DRM deployments or have fragmentation in their implementation of DRM. With BuyDRM’s KeyOS Platform, Showtime has been able to support studio-approved DRM that easily fits into their video workflows. When Showtime decided to broadcast the Pacquiao vs Broner fight, KeyOS provided all of the real-time DRM licensing that’s capable of supporting the volume of users and geographic dispersion,” explains Levy. The match cost viewers nearly $70 each and Showtime experienced zero leakage from the distribution points that BuyDRM was managing, so realised significant revenue through this protected stream. BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT Blizzard Entertainment is one of the world’s largest and most well-known brands in the esports business. As a distributor of in-house-developed gaming titles, Blizzard enjoys a large global following of users and brand taste makers. Each year, Blizzard brings its entire network of gamers, partners, developers and industry insiders to Irvine, California, near its global HQ where it holds a five-

day convention known as Blizzcon. This event is a fast-moving blur of product announcements, panels, networking events, partner events and, of course, live gaming. Produced with more than 45 HD cameras broadcasting through two $10 million production trucks, Blizzard delivers a $65 live pay-per-view webcast through Blizzcon.com in HD and SD to all of the major consumer playback platforms. To protect its investment and the rights of individuals paying to view its content, Blizzard uses BuyDRM’s KeyOS MultiKey Service to manage and deliver all of its Widevine and FairPlay licences to hundreds of millions of users around the world. “Blizzard’s annual Blizzcon pay-per-view webcast is by far its largest brand and platform event on a global basis,” notes Levy. “Each and every year it saw increasing numbers of viewers around the globe and more and more of its content leaking to places not authorised. Using BuyDRM’s KeyOS MultiKey Service, Blizzard was able to easily drop in Widevine and FairPlay to support to its encoding, delivery and playback

platforms, making the DRM implementation experience seamless and painless.”

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Words by Nicole Kobie

TikTok is the social media playground du jour, but the social app could also be big business for broadcasters

record-breaking, chart-topping single. Public health campaigns. And silly, globally viral dances. TikTok isn’t just for kids – it’s big

Say So , and Dance Monkey by Tones and I. We think that will only continue.” Alongside promises of success, there have been concerns — particularly around content moderation, censorship and data privacy. That’s exacerbated by the fact that TikTok is owned by Chinese developer ByteDance, at a time when Chinese- US relations are strained, and when concerns around Chinese surveillance via technology are being openly debated with regards to Huawei’s technologies in 5G networks. In response to criticism by US politicians last year, TikTok issued a statement stressing that all of its data is stored outside of China, and that it has never been asked to censor by that government. It’s worth noting TikTok is the version of the app available outside China, while ByteDance runs a separate app called Douyin inside the country. HOW DOES TIKTOK WORK? One of the key differences between TikTok and other social apps is the AI algorithm that suggests what users see — unlike most other social media, it doesn’t care who you’re friends with. “The details behind the algorithm are a closely guarded secret,” explains eMarketer principal analyst, Debra Aho

business now. TikTok arrived in 2018, evolving out of lip-syncing app Musical.ly after it was bought for a reported $1 billion by Chinese app maker, ByteDance. Like Vine before it, TikTok lets users post short, 15-second to one-minute looping video clips, and dance moves and lip-syncing dominate the app. The bewildering user interface, with text laid over the top of video snippets, may put off some older adults, but now only half of its 800 million active monthly users are under the age of 34. A TikTok spokesperson tells FEED : “While Gen Z have been TikTok’s early adopters, we have seen our audience gradually expand and mature over time to become extremely diverse.” Even if you’re not on the app, you’ve no doubt heard its influence: last year ’s country-rap single, Old Town Road , spent a record-breaking 19 weeks as the number-one song in the US after going viral on TikTok. “We’ve found many artists break through to the mainstream charts following going viral on TikTok,” says the spokesperson, “including Doja Cat’s song,

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matter if they are following a person or not. It’s common to find some profiles with a few followers that have videos with thousands of views.” ADVERTISING TO YOUR AUDIENCE That has an impact on advertising — and, like others in the social space, TikTok is still grappling with how to make money out of its 800m users. Alongside the usual video and full-screen ads, there’s also Top View, which shows an ad when the app is opened, making sure it can’t be missed or ignored; all of that can be targeted based on demographics, device, interest and more, says the TikTok spokesperson. Another way for companies to get involved is the Creator Marketplace, which helps brands partner with TikTok creators, tapping into their knowledge of the app and their audiences for marketing. However, the most popular ad format on TikTok is the ‘hashtag challenge,’ a viral marketing system that invites users to participate in contests or make themed videos. BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer ran a challenge searching for dance moves, sparking more than ten million video views, while ITV’s Love Island sponsored hashtag challenges using ideas from the show. “This allowed users to put their own creative spin on what they had seen on TV,” says the TikTok spokesperson, “and engage with the content in a way that had never been done before.” However, it’s still early days for TikTok and advertising, says Williamson. “Its main ad formats – the hashtag challenge, the homepage takeover ad, the in-feed video ad – will no doubt be refined in the coming year,” she says. One change she predicts is the creation of an auction-based ad- buying platform, similar to that used by Google, which should make it easier for smaller companies to advertise on TikTok.

Williamson. “But what is generally known is that users don’t have to follow anyone in order to start using TikTok. Immediately upon opening the app, it shows a steady stream of content that TikTok thinks a user might like.” But, over time, the algorithm learns

more about each user, watching how they navigate the feed, which videos they skip and which they like, says Williamson. “New videos with fewer engagements are interspersed with other videos that have a large amount of engagement, and TikTok watches the view-to-like ratio closely to determine how quickly to start showing a new video to a wider audience.” That focus on content over connections means a video doesn’t need to have a million views before it’ll be surfaced to users, says Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of social marketing platform SocialPubli. Instead, it’ll be shown to users if their interests match its hashtags, which are used to describe the video. “The TikTok algorithm is based on the content instead of the number of followers,” El-Qudsi explains. “Each user sees videos related to their interests, no

BROADCAST SUCCESS That said, TikTok’s business model need not be limited to traditional advertising, says Williamson — there are other

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ways it could open up to commerce. “Its rival, Instagram, has spent the past few years turning itself into a shopping destination, and shopping-related ads and activities are a growing business,” Williamson says. For example, Instagram offers ads that directly link to shopping pages, making it possible to shop in-app. “TikTok has lightly experimented with letting its creators engage in commerce, but there is a lot more ground to explore here,” she adds. “Live broadcasting is another potential revenue source. TikTok’s Chinese sister app Douyin makes

money from selling virtual currency that users can then give to influencers who do live broadcasts on Douyin.” Indeed, broadcasters have found success marketing on TikTok without buying hashtag challenges or other advertisements. BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing used the app to extend its reach with younger audiences simply by posting videos. “They’ve generated a huge amount of engagement, posting behind-the-scenes videos using TikTok filters, and participating in trending dance and acrobatics challenges like #flyingpressup and #ohnana, which has helped them grow a six-figure audience in just a matter of months and get millions of views on their videos,” the TikTok spokesperson says. And it’s not only for reality shows. Sky News streamed government press briefings about the coronavirus pandemic via TikTok, in order to expand its reach. Sports broadcasters have also had particular success. “The significant news outlets have more than 100,000 followers now – including NBC, CNN, New York Post , Fox – but ESPN has seven million,” El-Qudsi says. “I think that sports outlets are making better use of the platform.” To get started with TikTok, El-Qudsi shares a few basic tips: use filters and stickers to appeal to younger generations, publish at least three times a week, and ensure you tag your videos or they won’t get any attention. One way for smaller businesses and niche broadcasters to get attention is to join in the daily video challenges that draw the attention of everyone on the app, but it’s worth noting that TikTok fans will see straight through stuffy attempts at marketing. “The brands we see having the most success advertising on TikTok are those that embrace the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community to create bold campaigns that bring in all the tools on offer,” points out the spokesperson for TikTok. And that might be the biggest challenge of all: convincing a global audience of Generation Z creators that your video is the one not to skip.

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