How castLabs implemented DRM licensing without disrupting existing VOD infrastructure

Objective

Bonnier Broadcasting, a Swedish holding company which is part of media company Bonnier – the parent company for TV4, C More, and Finnish MTV, started working with castLabs at the beginning of 2019. The main objective of working with castLabs was in particular to manage several brand identities within one streaming service. Currently, Bonnier Broadcasting is utilizing castLabs’ DRMtoday in TV4 and C More.

castLabs’ DRMtoday is an advanced digital rights management (DRM) licensing service for online and offline scenarios to protect video delivery.

Challenge

With the growing number of connected streaming devices, operating and scaling DRM systems has become a challenge. For live must-see events, the load of a DRM service can explode, i.e. jumping from a few license requests to over 50 million. Bonnier Broadcasting was looking for a highly scalable DRM solution to accommodate the demand for large live sports events, whilst maintaining low latency and keeping in place their infrastructure as it was.

Moreover, as Bonnier Broadcasting was moving their licensing to DRMtoday, the previous DRM system had to be running in parallel. The challenge was to make sure all of the license keys were extracted and DRMtoday was integrated.

“We were looking for a highly scalable and simple multi-DRM solution for our DRM live and VOD content. The managed service had to have a track record of excellent performance with a proven detailed features list. castLabs’ DRMtoday was the best match to fulfill our wide range of requirements. Onboarding and integration have been smooth with great support from the castLabs team.”

Håkan Åhman, Head of Operation at Bonnier Broadcasting
25 million DRM keys delivered monthly
Monthly example for Bonnier Broadcasting

Solution

Scalability

castLabs’ flexible and global DRM solution offers a complete set of features, built on highly reliable AWS infrastructure, and a user-friendly interface, with support from a professional services team. On top of automatic AWS scaling mechanisms, DRMtoday has built-in logic to allow millions of license deliveries every day and peak times to be served without delays, e.g. if there’s a sudden surge in viewers for the World Cup Soccer Finals. The flexible cloud solution helps to avoid service outages with dependable high availability and excellent fault-tolerant redundancy expanding on what AWS already provides running across multiple AWS regions around the world. castLabs utilizes servers near the customers to minimize key delivery time and low-latency licensing lets the audience enjoy content sooner.

In order to achieve a successful cooperation, Vimond partnered with castLabs and Bonnier Broadcasting to provide a CMS, streaming platform, and content processing to manage video assets and integration. Vimond contributed to the workflow by providing key ingestion and managing the previous DRM system’s packaged asset. Furthermore, Vimond manages the player requests and token generation for castLabs.

This allowed Bonnier Broadcasting to change the licensing supplier of their video content, without changing the player in place, or the streaming infrastructure for protected HLS, MPEG-DASH, and Smooth Streaming content.

“We were looking for a highly scalable solution that could cover the needs of both existing and future customers. We chose castLabs because they ticked all the boxes. It was easy to get started and we got great support along the way. Based on the DRM rollout we did together with Bonnier, we strongly feel we made the right choice.”

Rune Jordal, Lead Engineer Video at Vimond

Dashboard

DRMtoday’s dashboard has supported Bonnier Broadcasting with its functionality, helping to troubleshoot any problems and provide visibility of deliveries, unique users, DRM systems used, active devices, usage data per day, and others. castLabs provides a large number of templates that one can use to setup e.g. a VOD service with 48 hours license duration, or a geolocation-controlled live streaming service with key rotation and only three allowed concurrent devices per user.

Result

Through efficient and timely communication, the process of the integration was nearly completed during the trial phase alone dedicating enough time for testing. Effective and frequent contact helped all parties to be up to date with the project and manage requests in an adequate manner. One of the obstacles along the way was the integration and testing of DRMtoday whilst running Bonnier Broadcasting’s previous DRM solution. Due to the fact that the files were not repackaged, DRMtoday did not automatically recognize them. This was solved by sending the IDs of the content files via a URL instead of relying on the information stored in the video files, avoiding unnecessary repackaging of thousands of content titles. Quick decision making facilitated seamless and effective integration thus supporting a successful use of DRMtoday.

Currently, Bonnier Broadcasting has migrated all of their services to DRMtoday and successfully uses castLabs’ DRM global solution. Whilst working through the challenges, castLabs was able to evaluate all of the solutions and choose the most compatible outcome together with all of the companies involved in this project, providing a market-leading DRM solution.

Bonnier Broadcasing

Bonnier Broadcasting is one of the Nordic region’s biggest television companies and is leading the development of video content and digitalization of the television industry.

Bonnier Broadcasing’s objective is for all content to be available through all channels of distribution (terrestrial, cable, satellite, IPTV, mobile, and Internet) and on all platforms.

Website: bonnierbroadcasting.com

Year of establishment: 2010

HQ: Stockholm, Sweden

Service: Broadcast Media

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