Things to consider when protecting OTT content

When deploying OTT content, at some point you may need to consider ways to protect your streams against piracy, which traditionally has been achieved using DRM.

DRM has been around for years, but it has only been relatively recently that the market has coalesced around 3 industry standard schemes (Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay Streaming, and Microsoft PlayReady) which offer secure protection for OTT video content.

These all provide a range of features that natively protect content on countless different devices. However, just deploying these DRM schemes isn’t necessarily simple, nor do they alone necessarily provide the levels of protection demanded by content owners.

So what else do you need to consider when protecting your OTT content?


The first hurdle often faced when deploying DRM is building out a network of servers that enables you to efficiently deliver your DRM license successfully and as fast as possible. Especially with live events, demand can skyrocket by millions of views within minutes meaning if your infrastructure is not up to scratch, you could be seeing failed deliveries and interrupted playback. This ultimately damages the user experience and could even lead to viewers missing crucial live events.

Scalable DRM

DRM enabled players

In addition to having the correct server infrastructure in place, you also need to have DRM enabled video players that are able to integrate with your content protection solution – without this, you simply won’t be able to use DRM technology. This issue has been largely solved by native tools like ExoPlayer and AVPlayer as well as others like Shaka Player. However, integration work is still needed when deploying your own DRM licensing solution which can take time and money, plus involves ongoing work when maintaining these integrations with new releases and OS changes.

Video playback

Enhanced protection

Away from the complications of deploying DRM in-house, the standard DRM schemes don’t support additional security features increasingly demanded by business models and content owners. These can include:

Multi-key delivery: encrypting content with different keys for different video resolutions, plus different keys for audio and visual files. This enhances security by increasing the number of encrypted elements in the DRM workflow as well as improves the network efficiency of delivering multiple DRM keys in one request.

Multi-key video content

Concurrent stream limiting: limiting the number of streams simultaneously being viewed through the same end-user account. This can prevent account sharing and also improve monetization.

Concurrent stream limiting

Geoblocking: limiting distribution of content to a particular country or region. This allows you to meet the terms of agreements offered by content owners and limits distribution to only agreed upon markets.


Forensic watermarking: introducing a unique invisible watermark in content to identify the source of video piracy down to the individual user level. This extra security layer on top of DRM is often required by studios for UHD and HDR delivery.

Forensic watermarking

Where does castLabs come in?

Collectively, with the difficulties of building and maintaining the infrastructure needed, plus all of the additional features demanded for the highest quality of content, deploying OTT content protection isn’t simple.

This is where we come in – we have over 14 years of experience working with secure video delivery and offer feature rich content protection solutions and cross platform video player SDKs that enables you to easily protect and distribute your OTT content.

Contact us

If you want to learn more, feel free to contact us at or sign up to our free trials.

Studio recognized protection

Our DRMtoday licensing service gives you the freedom to easily protect content across all screens with advanced security features.

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Cross-platform players

Our range of PRESTOplay SDKs let you quickly deliver secure playback experiences across numerous platforms.

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Cloud VOD processing

Our Video Toolkit service transforms your content into VOD assets cost effectively with tools to encode, encrypt, package, and watermark.

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Posted by

James Hynard

James Hynard
Sales Manager

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