In a bid to tackle the growing issue of piracy in the world of live sports streaming, DAZN, a prominent sports streaming service, is joining forces with cybersecurity firm Irdeto. Their mission: to implement cutting-edge security technology to counteract the surge in illegal IPTV services. The centerpiece of their strategy is Irdeto’s forensic watermarking solution known as Tracemark, designed to bolster DAZN’s anti-piracy defenses significantly.
The Rise of Pirate Streams and the Sports Industry’s Cost
Over the last few years, the ease of pirating live sports content has surged in tandem with the growth of legitimate streaming service subscriptions. In 2020, as streaming subscriptions reached record highs, illegal IPTV services also experienced a rapid uptick in popularity. Live sports streaming, in particular, has emerged as a highly lucrative market, with projections exceeding $93 million by 2030. The financial toll of piracy on the sports industry is undeniable, as DAZN revealed in August that piracy costs the entire sports sector an astonishing $316.9 million annually.
Dough Lowther, CEO of Irdeto, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Premium live sports is one of the biggest forms of content driving the OTT live streaming industry, making live sports a primary target for piracy. Irdeto’s insights from decades of fighting piracy and cyber threats, coupled with the best technology and DAZN’s team of experts, will be key to shutting down pirates and cyber criminals.”
The Role of Tracemark: Unseen, but Effective
Irdeto’s Tracemark technology deploys an invisible, unique forensic watermark into live content. This seemingly minor alteration holds the key to DAZN’s ability to identify and disrupt individual pirate sessions and unauthorized streams more efficiently. This marks a significant leap in the battle against illegal streaming services, which have proven to be a persistent problem for the sports streaming industry.
Sandeep Tiku, DAZN Group Chief Technology Officer, expressed optimism about the newly implemented solutions, stating, “With these solutions, DAZN hopes to more effectively tackle pirates through enforcement and the better use of technology, while educating fans of the risks of accessing pirated content.” The emphasis here is not only on enforcement but also on educating viewers about the potential risks associated with accessing pirated content.
Beyond Tracemark: AI and Collaborative Efforts
Earlier this year, DAZN unveiled its partnership with Videocities, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to locate illegal sports streams across various online platforms, including social media. This AI technology is sophisticated enough to identify illegal streams even if the video has been altered, a common tactic employed by pirates to evade detection.
Furthermore, DAZN has joined hands with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), alongside 52 other companies, in a collective effort to combat digital piracy comprehensively. These collaborative initiatives underscore the industry’s commitment to protecting the integrity of sports content and safeguarding the interests of legitimate streaming providers.
A Digital World and Evolving Threats
The world is evolving rapidly into a digital landscape, presenting both opportunities and challenges. The proliferation of digital platforms has opened doors for various forms of cybercrimes, including piracy. While DAZN’s new security measures may not eradicate illegal IPTV services entirely, they are poised to make a significant impact on curbing this persistent problem.
In conclusion, the partnership between DAZN and Irdeto, fortified by cutting-edge technology like Tracemark and AI, showcases the determination of the sports streaming industry to combat piracy head-on. With the financial stakes higher than ever, the measures taken by DAZN represent a crucial step toward safeguarding the future of live sports streaming and ensuring that creators and broadcasters can continue to deliver premium content to fans worldwide.