Benefits of multi-key content

Despite the industry’s best efforts, video piracy can still occur. In order to minimize risks associated with potential content leaks, it’s important to follow best-practices for how your content keys work with digital rights management (DRM). Due to this, we always recommend using multiple keys when preparing your content titles for streaming, as well as considering a device’s security level.

When packaging a content title to prepare for streaming, you’d specify how many renditions to create, ranging from: SD, HD, and UHD qualities. During the encryption phase you have two options of how to handle the security of those renditions:

  • Create a single key per content title used to decrypt any of its renditions.
  • Generate a unique key for each individual rendition, including audio tracks. In this manner, each content title would use multiple keys.

Benefits of multi-key

Using the multi-key approach means that if one of your keys is compromised by a leaker (for example, an SD quality version), then the higher quality renditions remain secure. This ultimately serves to mitigate content leaking issues by increasing the overall security of your content filesets. And that also leads to content owners being more confident in your security.

Multi-key video content

Different platforms/devices implement DRM with different security levels. For example, software-based DRM such as Widevine level 3 (used by desktop browsers) is not as secure as a hardware-based Widevine level 1 implementation (which is built into many modern Android devices). Some content owners require that only SD quality of their content can be streamed when a device runs software-based DRM for just this reason. HD/UHD quality content is more valuable than SD versions, so by restricting software-based DRM implementations to stream SD only, the fallout of leaked content is reduced for content owners.

When creating a DRM license for multi-key content, a device’s security level should be considered as well, and only the key for an appropriate rendition quality should be delivered. This strengthens security by ensuring, for instance, that a device using software-based DRM only receives SD content keys and doesn’t receive keys for HD/UHD qualities.

Sending keys only for specific content qualities can also help support business models where low-tier subscribers could only be sent SD, while higher-tier customers receive HD or UHD versions.

If you aren’t yet using multiple keys and aren’t considering device security levels during license creation, then this is a good reminder to make the change sooner rather than later.

How we can help

Getting your streams using multiple keys is easy with our solutions.

Video Toolkit
Create separate keys for your content tile renditions by using our speedy Video Toolkit cloud service to prepare VOD streams. Moreover, you can apply forensic watermarking for an extra layer of content protection.
Our world-class DRMtoday license delivery network supports multi-key content for Widevine, PlayReady, and FairPlay Streaming DRM systems. You can also selectively enforce stream quality based on a playback device’s security level. For example, you can identify server-side if a device is only secure enough for SD quality, and only send the appropriate key to a player.
Our PRESTOplay video players support both software and hardware DRM deployments. Additionally, our players can be aware of what renditions it has been given keys for which, for instance, can help the player manage what content qualities users are able to select.

We can also help by providing technical consulting for your packager of choice.

Contact us
Request free trials of our solutions or contact us today if you have further questions about multi-key delivery.


Posted by

Bryce Pedersen

Bryce Pedersen
Global Marketing Strategy

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